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Holmes - books

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

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I feel like I want to really gush about this book. Several people recommended Laurie R. King's 'Mary Russell' series and being a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan I had a feeling I would probably like them. Like? Make that 'love'! I adored this first one, .

Mary Russell is fifteen and lives in Sussex with her despicable aunt. One day while out walking she stumbles across (literally) a retired Sherlock Holmes watching bees. Recognising another with a similar mind to his own the two strike up a friendship and Mary eventually becomes a kind of apprentice in the crime solving business. It's while Mary is at university that a diplomat's daughter is kidnapped. Holmes and Russell work together on the case and bring it to a conclusion. But have they? And who is trying to kill them, and why?

It was sort of weird at first to be reading a Sherlock Holmes book that was a)by an author other than Conan Doyle and b)not narrated by Watson! It's not quite the same, but then you wouldn't expect it to be and I personally was quite happy with the change in style, though perhaps not every dedicated Holmes fan would be. Depends on your preferences really. It should be said too that the author is American and there are a few Americanisms in the book (not many). But as Mary herself is half American I didn't find them inappropriate and nor did they throw me out of the story.

I liked the portrayal of Holmes and found his friendship with Mary quite believable. It was nice, in fact, to see him as a human being with feelings and emotions and the ability to become attached to someone. I already know how the relationship changes and can't wait to read about how it happens. The crime element of the novel was also excellent; I tried to guess who was behind it all and got it quite wrong. The author does a great job of building to a climax and you fair gallop along with her to the end. Honestly, I can't recommend this book highly enough and am so pleased that there are many more in the series to read. Book two, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, is already on my tbr pile and will be one of my first reads for 2008.

Comments

It took me the longest time to try this book, because I was afraid it would ruin Holmes (so many sequels written by someone chosen by the estate are just putrid), but as you said, it is superb. All the rest are very good too. I'm now trying to read King's Kait Martineli series, but haven't found the third book in the stores, so I'll need to order it, I suppose. Oh, and while I was looking for that book, I read Folly and Standing Watch and they still are in my thoughts.
I must admit I had the same misgivings, wondering if the author might make a mockery of the Holmes we all love. But she didn't, he was spot on. I'll take a look at the other books you mention at some stage too.
I know the feeling. I fell very hard for this book and since I read it just before A Monstrous Regiment was published I had to rush out and buy the latter the moment it appeared.
I think one of things I loved about the book was that it had so much *heart*. It was quite obvious how much King adores Sherlock Holmes. It's brilliant that there are so many more to read. Hopefully the standard is maintained.
What a coincidence! I just picked up A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four by Doyle from the library today! I know who Sherlock Holmes is, of course, but that's more from pop culture more than anything else, and I was interested in starting at the beginning to see how it all came about. I'm only a couple of pages into A Study in Scarlet but so far, I've found it kind of amusing (I feel as though I may get converted to a Holmes fan myself!).

I'll have to add this book to my reading list, perhaps after or in between working my way through the stories and other works featuring the great detective. :)
Funnily enough, I also have A Study in Scarlett on my library tbr pile. I don't believe I've ever read it before but am not certain. I certainly plan to read a lot more Holmes next year, it might be interesting to compare notes. The Mary Russell series might not be to everyone's taste but certainly worth trying the first one to see if you like it I think.