• One Must Tell the Bees

  • Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes
  • By: J. Lawrence Matthews
  • Narrated by: Thomas Judd
  • Length: 19 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.95

Buy for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

“What do you get when you cross Abraham Lincoln with Sherlock Holmes? The alchemy of creative genius. Matthews brings us to the intersection of history and fiction in this beautifully written epic full of unfathomable twists and turns. It’s elementary: this book is sensational.” (Jim Campbell, syndicated radio host and author of Madoff Talks: Uncovering the Untold Story Behind the Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme in History)

“President Lincoln is assassinated in his private box at Ford’s!”

When those harrowing words ring out during a children’s entertainment in Washington on the evening of April 14, 1865, a quick-thinking young chemist from England named Johnnie Holmes grabs the 12-year-old son of the dying president, races the boy to safety, and soon finds himself enlisted in the most infamous manhunt in history.

One Must Tell the Bees is the untold story of Sherlock Holmes’ journey from the streets of London to the White House of Abraham Lincoln and, in company with a freed slave named after the dead president, their breathtaking pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth. It is the very first case of the man who would become known to the world as Sherlock Holmes, and as listeners will discover, it will haunt him until his very last.

At a time when Western history is being reexamined and retold, old heroes cast aside and statues torn down, and even the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, “the Great Emancipator”, is questioned, One Must Tell the Bees is a timely reminder that our history deserves to be understood before it is entirely undone.

©2021 J. Lawrence Matthews (P)2021 J. Lawrence Matthews

More from the same

What listeners say about One Must Tell the Bees

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    16
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Expectations blown up

Chosen as our book club choice for the month, I was expecting to enjoy the creative weaving of Lincoln and Holmes. What I wasn’t expecting was the beautiful writing, Christian fabric and the relationships of Abraham, Watson and young Eddie. I found this novel remarkable and can’t wait to discuss it with my book club!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent new Holmes story in the same spirit

Overall: I grew up loving Sherlock Holmes, so I was really interested in this book - and I was not disappointed. A new Holmes adventure, this time written by the great detective himself, and with the same spirit that ran through the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories. If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, I highly recommend this book.

Narration: Judd did an excellent job bringing the story to life, and I felt like I was listening to Holmes himself recount the events as though we were sitting by the fire just chatting. There was just something about his tone of voice and cadence that felt right, and really matched the tone of the story.

Story: From England to the states, during the 1860s, we get some insight to young Holmes before he ever met Watson or became a detective that helped private citizens and Scotland Yard alike. The descriptions are vivid enough that you can see everything unfolding, and the spirit of the character of Holmes was definitely held true to. The relationship between Holmes and Lincoln was fascinating, and in a world where Sherlock Holmes is real, I could absolutely see the events of this book playing out. Although this story is narrated by Holmes, Matthews has done an excellent job of keeping the same tone I came to love as a kid reading the original stories. 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Books Forward. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Tale of Historical Fiction Mystery!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Review

Such an incredible story! The combination of the author’s ability to capture the tone and writing style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the narrator’s fluid and thematic speaking voice helped to draw the reader into the narrative. It was incredible how the author was able to bring to life the style of the original Sherlock Holmes novels that made him such an iconic literary figure. The amount of detail and precision that the author put not only in the narrative but into the dialogue of Sherlock Holmes himself was fascinating to read and watch unfold. The narrator was superb, really bringing that nineteenth-century English accent into the story and capturing the emotions and nostalgia that these characters and stories held for so many over the years.

The narrative itself was such a great story. The author found the perfect way to pay tribute to the original Sherlock Holmes stories through tone and atmosphere while shaking things up by exploring a young Sherlock Holmes and giving an alternate history that shows the famed London Detective taking to the streets of Washington DC and more. The addition of the detective’s hero being revealed as a Pinkerton agent was fascinating as well and allowed readers to get a glimpse into the formation of who Holmes would become known as in his future career.

The Verdict

Nostalgic, entertaining, and thought-provoking, author J. Lawrence Matthews’s “One Must Tell the Bees” is a must-read historical fiction mystery novel! The audiobook version really created the theatrical nature of the setting and the narrative harnessed that classic literature style that really made this feel like an authentic Sherlock Holmes read. The captivating addition of this time period and the era of American History is so influential on the foundation of Holmes and his career in the future was brilliantly told.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

4.5* - New entry on my 'keeper' shelf

Gorgeous, sweeping story that spans the early days and the final days of Sherlock Holmes, while making occasional reference to the in-between days (and cases) in passing.

If you have only a vague familiarity with key cases and characters from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, you're not at a disadvantage. On the other hand, if you're a Sherlock Holmes expert, there's a risk that you might enjoy the story less because you might be distracted by perceived inconsistencies with (or departures from) official canon. I see that some other reviewers have been challenged by this (e.g., trying to reconcile Sherlock's age in this story versus canon, even though Matthews addresses it directly at the beginning of this story in Holmes' own words). Anyway, if this story encourages you to (re)visit the original Sherlock Holmes stories, that can only be considered a 'win', because they're so wonderful to read/listen to.

I think this story complements the original stories very well. Matthews gives us the bookends to Sherlock's life. In Holmes' early days and his final days, we get many insights into what shaped the boy into the future detective. We also appreciate how the strengths and flaws that he demonstrated during his active career impacted his attitudes and behaviours in his final days. Finally, I enjoyed how Matthews gave us two mysteries - one that launched his young career and a final mystery in the twilight of his life - and how he intertwined them cleverly even though they occurred at opposite ends of Holmes' life.

Don't be daunted by the duration of this audiobook. I listened at 1.2x and it seemed to flow better at that speed. Just don't try to power through it in one sitting, that's all. The narrator was wonderful; he was more than a narrator, he was a storyteller.

The only reason for deducting a half-star was because the mystery that was set in the 'present day' (Sherlock's final big mystery that he solved with Watson) was a wee bit clunky. I'm thinking of the climactic scene towards the end where the antagonist is revealed, and also how the antagonist was able to insinuate into Holmes' life. I wouldn't say that there were major issues or problems, but it didn't seem to flow quite as smoothly as other parts of the story.

I enjoyed this story very much. I have the 'Complete Sherlock Holmes' audiobook (narrated by Simon Vance) and 'One Must Tell the Bees' will be sitting on my virtual bookshelf right beside it.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great

One Must Tell the Bees by J. Lawrence Matthews was a great audiobook. I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan for quite a while so I really enjoyed the premise of the book. However, this was the first one I've read/listened to that involved these events. I really enjoyed the newness of it!I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Books Forward. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I highly recommend this book

One Must Tell the Bees: Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes (Audible Audio), my first read/listen from author J. Lawrence Matthews but it will not be the last if he continues to write fiction. A well-written Holmesian addition! I've already been to Amazon looking at his titles. Thomas Judd’s narration was excellent & added greatly to the book’s enjoyment & seems the perfect complement to Matthew’s work. That said,, with kudos out of the way I must throw a few darts at his work. Sherlock Holmes is generally considered to have been born in 1854, making him less than 10 years old during his purported involvement in pre & post-Civil War. At the time of Sherlock's death, Inspector Lestrade is still involved in police work even though he was in his forties during his first appearance in A Study in Scarlett in 1887, which would make him in his seventies post World War 1. The positives highly outweigh the flaws & I highly recommend this book. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018).

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A mammoth book, but so worth reading!

In this book not only do we get introduced to the adolescent Sherlock Holmes, but we also learned his name was really Johnny. It’s true this book and his adventure is in America during the Civil War and the murder of Abraham Lincoln that we also see how Sherlock got all his skills. So much is explained in this great piece of art that giving a summary would only be in insult to the authors perfect research and analysis of Sherlock Holmes and his talents and abilities. Just know as soon as I was finished with the book I wanted to start listening again. I can’t say enough about this 19 hour audiobook except it is perfect, awesome, superb and a definite definite must read book! If you even have a passing interest in Sherlock Holmes and his great investigating then you must read this book and find out how and where it all started. He runs into great figures from the past and some not so great but it is all worth reading. This is a definite five star review for a five star book that deserves everyone of them. I highly recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Sherlock Holmes book ever!

I experienced so many emotions: I laughed, I cried, I was enthralled with American history, and wanted to have my own beehives! I love how we got to learn about Holmes' personal history and see what made him tick.

Thomas Judd did an excellent job narrating and bringing the characters to life.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well Written and Enjoyable Read

I have yet to read any Sherlock Holmes but have always wanted to. After listening to this book I may have to make it a priority LOL. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this narrator and I usually have a hard time and get distracted or bored. Not so with this one.

I did feel this was a little long, and could have been shorter but then I wonder if the other Holmes books are the same way? I did see some readers comment as to how this is similar to the earlier novels. 🤔🤔 Alas, I have nothing to compare it to LOL

One of the things I loved is how Holmes worked through the mystery and would make Watson wait for the reveal to show his genius and intellect. Holmes most definitely knows his stuff and likes to flaunt it 🤣🤣

Lincoln's assassination is a nice twist to the overall story. It's Holme's past brought into his current mystery and I thought it was done well. Definitely recommend this one for current fans and even ones who, like me, have been curious about the infamous detective.

I sincerely appreciate the publisher and Books Forward for providing me with an audio review copy. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.