Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Laurie R. King

Title: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or On the Segregation of the Queen
A Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Author: Laurie R. King
Publisher: Picador First Edition 2007
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Early 20th Century, England
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 384
Rating: 5 Stars

The preface explains the origins of how this book came in to the hands of the author Laurie R. King, the explanation is imaginative. The authors mission, as well as the voice in the story, is to describe the real Sherlock Holmes, not the man of myth.
When the story begins it is early Spring 1915, and a girl named Mary Russell, age15, is reading a book by Virgil, and walking in a rural area of Sussex, England. Mary comes across a middle-aged man, sitting silently in a field, watching honeybees on a hillside. After exchanging a few words, it becomes apparent they've both met their match, in personality, wit, and intelligence. The middle-aged man is the retired Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is impressed with the young girl Mary. He takes her under his wing, so to speak, teaching her to be a 20th century sleuth.

My Thoughts:
I loved this story!
From the preface through to the mysteries that are solved, I loved every bit of this story.
  • Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are alike. Often people that are alike rub each other the wrong way. A fracture in the relationship can develop. I found in this story that Mary and Sherlock compliment each other. He was a pseudo teacher/father figure. She a willing pupil. A key factor in their relationship was respect.
  • Their communication or dialogue with each other reminded me of two people who are perfect dancing partners. Each in synchronization with their steps. Each with fluid movement. Each enjoying their time together. 
  • Our sleuths travel. I enjoyed traveling with them, especially of Mary's descriptions of what she saw and how she felt. 
  • I found it interesting that in figuring out a case, they were patient, unhurried, in order to solve correctly a case. Most modern stories are full of brute physical strength. Sherlock and Mary use intelligence and wisdom. 
  • I enjoyed the authors writing style. I was able to see the characters facial expressions, demeanor, clothing attire, scenery. All the sights and sounds came alive for me.
Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $12.53
Kindle $7.99


  1. I'm glad to hear you liked this book--I keep on running across it, but read a couple of reviews that put me off it. But, what you listed as loving are things that I would probably love about it to.

    Throwing caution to the's now on my TBR list.


  2. It could be that we have this set idea of what Sherlock Holmes is to be, because of books and recent movies. It's hard to open our mind to the possibility of another image of Holmes.
    I read the review over at Amazon. I read the opinions of those reader's who did not care for this book.
    Books are personal. I really liked this book.
    Thanks Jane GS for commenting!

  3. I have considered this book, but never really checked it out. Now I think it should go in my summer TBR stack.


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