The Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

On the Segregation of the Queen

Book - 1994
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What would happen if Sherlock Homles, a perfect man of the Victorian age--pompous, smug, and misogynisitic--were to come face to face with a twentieth-century female? If she grew to be a partner worthy of his great talents?

Laurie R. King, whose very different first novel,. A Grave Talen t (SMP, 1993), drew rave reviews, read the Conan Doyle stories and wondered about such an imaginary encounter. And following through, she has written The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

1914, a young woman named Mary Russell meets a retired beekeeper on the Sussex Downs. His name is Sherlock Holmes. And although he may have all the Victorian "flaws" listed above, the Great Detective is no fool, and can spot a fellow intellect even in a fifteen-year-old woman.

So, at first informally, then consciously, he takes Mary Russell as his apprentice. They work on a few small local cases, then on a larger and more urgent investigation, which ends successfully. All the time, Mary is developing as a detective in her own right, with the benefit of the knowledge and experience of her mentor and, increasingly, friend.

And then the sky opens on them, and they find themselves the targets of a slippery, murderous, and apparently all-knowing adversary. Together they devise a plan to trap their enemy--a plan that may save their lives but may also kill off their relationship.

This is not a "Sherlock Holmes" story. It is the story of a modern young woman who comes to know and work with Holmes, the story of young woman coming to terms with herself and with this older man who embodies the age that is past.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994.
ISBN: 9780312104238
Branch Call Number: M/KING
Characteristics: 347p. 22cm.


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May 11, 2021

The book was published in 1994. Odd that the library has it published in 2014!

Apr 19, 2021

Checked out 4-19 / due back 5-10. The first Mary Russell novel (#1 of 16 in the Mary Russell series) recommended by Ann, Inverness librarian.

JCLCherylMY Mar 03, 2021

1st book in the Russell/Holmes series. King did a wonderful job of bringing Mary Russell to life as the main character, and a retired Holmes as the secondary character. I loved their interactions and growth as the plot intensified. I can't wait to see how their relationship changes and deepens as I read more of this intriguing series, which is set in early 1900's England.

Jun 19, 2020

This novella describes the initial meeting of the 15 year-old Mary with Sherlock Holmes. He sees her potential as a detective and protects her from an attempt on her life. The only puzzling aspect of this story is the mention of suicide for Mary and / or Holmes... Fun to learn the history of their relationship leading to the series. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 25, 2020

S.H. :Beekeeper's Apprentice and the rest of the series, by Laurie King (Sherlock Holmes fans, you will love this! This is the continuing story of when Sherlock retires to the English countryside and meets a teenage girl who is a child prodigy, and he becomes her mentor. This is a mystery series for people who like to think; King's attention to detail and knowledge of history, geography, and world politics is incredible, and you will probably wish you could be a prodigy, too, after meeting Mary Russell, the main character.)

IndyPL_SherryU Aug 30, 2019

While I am not a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I enjoyed this book (and subsequently the rest of the series) very much. The character of Mary Russell is delightful, giving as good as she gets and not taking anything from anybody, not even the great Sherlock Holmes. Great fun!

Aug 20, 2019

Very slow beginning, and I nearly gave up on completing it. I've read a later one in the series which was more satisfying.

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.

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.

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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May 29, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 07, 2013

turbo12 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 15, 2012

kitten97 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 09, 2011

Tanith thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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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.

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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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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