The Beekeeper's Apprentice or on the Segregation of the Queen

The Beekeeper's Apprentice or on the Segregation of the Queen

Book - 2002
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In 1915, long since retired from his crime-fighting days, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybees on the Sussex Downs. Never did the Victorian detective think to meet an intellect matching his own-until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a young twentieth-century lady whose mental acuity is equaled only by her penchant for deduction, disguises, and danger. Under Holmes's reluctant tutelage, Russell embarks on a case involving a landowner's mysterious fever and the kidnapping of an American senator's daughter in the wilds of Wales. Then a near-fatal bomb on her doorstep-and another on Holmes's-sends the two sleuths on the trail of a murderer who scatters bizarre clues and seems utterly without motive. The villain's objective, however, is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes's partnership-and then their lives.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2002.
Edition: Bantam trade pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780553381528
0553381520
9780312427368
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY King Laurie
Characteristics: xxi, 341 p. ;,23 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

First book in King's Mary Russell series

List - International Murder
JCLHilaryS Mar 22, 2017

First in a Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series that follows Mary as the main character.

Sherlock Holmes has retired, meets Mary Russell (who is brilliant enough to rival The Great Detective himself), and the unlikely pair team up to solve a dangerous mystery. First in a series.

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Post-WWI Britain.

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MadReads Jun 05, 2012

I enjoyed King's vision of Homles as a woman in Mary Russell. Quite fun!


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DorisWaggoner
Oct 01, 2018

Having read most of the books in this series, but not in order, I've decided to go back to the beginning. It's a treat. Even within this book, it's fun to watch the development in the relationship between the retired detective and the intellectual teenager. She begins by solving a puzzle involving painted dots on bees. By the end of the book, Holmes has taken Mary Russell on as his student and is teaching her the art of detection. Their first case seems simple and straightforward. By the end of the book they find themselves in enough of a pickle that leaving England for a while seems wise. As with their previous case, they go in disguise, something Holmes is very good at, and mentors Russell in that as well. A very satisfying beginning to the series. I confess I've never read the original Sherlock Holmes. Sometime I really should! I've read several other authors' attempts to carry on with the life of Holmes, and none seem as real as this one.

g
gingerseal8
Jun 23, 2018

Worth rereading! As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I hesitated to go into this, but I think it stays relatively true to the spirit of the character.

h
humming
Apr 06, 2018

Enjoyed the combination of short story mysteries within the framework of a developing relationship between an older, more mature, Sherlock Holmes with a young woman finding herself and her voice during the World War I years.

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Einer2
Mar 30, 2018

A very enjoyable book-will look for the prequel! Obviously I know about Sherlock and Watson but had never read one of the books. I like the way mysteries are unraveled and appreciate the due that Holmes gives to a female apprentice (most likely not real in the time period but appreciated nonetheless!) Kudos to the author!!!

t
tbos805
Mar 25, 2018

Delightful! And fun to read Sherlock's improved "tolerance" for a woman (other than Irene Adler, of course). Great twists and turns in the story. Can't wait for the next one in the series!

b
Brontina66
Oct 26, 2017

The reason why I gave this book a "good" rating is the obviously great amount of work and research that the author has done. There is a clear attempt to re-create a true "Sherlock Holmes" atmosphere and the addition of a woman sleuth is certainly welcome - at least for me. I have always thought that Conan Doyle's story - although intriguing and captivating - were a bit, well, patriarchal. There didn't seem to be much room for intelligent women in Baker Street, but this is just my opinion. "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" introduces a pleasant, funny character in Mary Russell and the bantering between her and Holmes is certainly entertaining. All this said, however, I found some parts of the story a bit strained. First of all, that fact that Mary is only 15. She is an independent minded young woman, true, but I really doubt that a Victorian teenager would have been able to spend all that time alone with an older man without any scandal or at least concern. However, we are required to suspend our disbelief, right? Then, overall, I didn't really have the impression that Mary (or Holmes, for that matter) were the great brilliant minds that we (or at least I) expected them to be. Sometimes, they both sounded rather obvious. However, the book was entertaining, well-structured, well-researched and I like the idea of a feminine perspective, so I certainly recommend it.

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mammothhawk229e
Aug 12, 2017

Pretty good book. However, quality slowly waned later on in the series.

multcolib_susannel Jun 25, 2017

When fifteen year old Mary Russell meets an reserved beekeeper she does not suspect him of being the famous Sherlock Holmes.

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 04, 2017

While written much later, I would suggest reading the short story "Beekeeping for Beginners" before embarking on The Beekeeper's Apprentice as it gives the backstory of how Holmes and Russell actually meet and is a helpful segue into understanding how long Russell has been at Holmes' side when this story begins.

While Mary Russell hasn't reached the age of majority and her inheritance, here we get to see her blossoming in confidence at both college and as a partner to Sherlock Holmes. In fact, at one point she catches a slip-up by Holmes that could have cost someone's life.

The story seems to be a series of stories that Conan Doyle would have published independently, but by the end, all the strings come together and the final mystery is revealed. Altogether a fun read and if you're a fan of Holmes, you're sure to enjoy the scenes with Mycroft, and the reference to Conan Doyle as the "publisher" for Watson's stories. Poor Watson does get some rough treatment as a well-meaning but often blundering old friend that Holmes is glad to replace with someone more his intellectual equal. But if you don't find this series true to your vision of Watson, may I suggest Robert Ryan's Watson series.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 10, 2016

It could barely hold my attention. I'm tired of Victorian mysteries... I need some grit and ummphf and dirty to my mysteries. But I'm sure if you love Victorian mysteries this would be overwhelmingly perfect for you.

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MADKC4Ever
May 29, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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turbo12
Jul 07, 2013

turbo12 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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kitten97
Jul 15, 2012

kitten97 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Nwu19
Jan 09, 2011

Nwu19 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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jeremy2432
Jun 15, 2015

This is the story of Sherlock Holmes as an older man working with a new partner. Unlike Watson, Mary Russell matches Holmes in wits and intelligence, but is anxious to learn from his experience. They become closer and more reliant on each other as they face a truly formidable foe.

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GirlWhoLived
Sep 06, 2014

Mary Russell is a sassy, smart American teenager who has been recently orphaned and is living in Sussex with her aunt. One day, while wandering the downs with her nose stuck in a book, she trips over the great (retired) Sherlock Holmes as he studies bees. Thus begins a beautiful apprenticeship and friendship, punctuated with witty banter, perilous situations, and beloved characters. As Russell ages and begins her career at Oxford, their unique relationship and combined skills must rise to the challenge of a new, unknown danger, one which is targeting the detectives directly.

Shelleybean1 Aug 16, 2011

In this first novel of the series, Mary Russell, a teenaged orphan, meets Sherlock Holmes. A unique partnership follows where Holmes tutors Russell in the art of detection. While she initially only aids in his investigations, she becomes a full partner by the end. This is a superb read and a fantastic series. Laurie King does an excellent job with the time period and creates some of the best characters I've yet read.

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MADKC4Ever
May 29, 2014

This self-contained individual, this man who had rarely allowed even his sturdy, ex-Ary companion Watson to confront real risk, who had habitually over the past four years held back, been cautious, kept an eye out, and otherwise protected me; this man who was a Victorian gentleman down to his boots; this man was now proposing to place not only his life and limb into my untested, inexperienced, and above all female hands, but my own life as well.

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