Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Book 43 of 2014: The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Mr Click and I spotted the trio of Laurie R. King books in the Book People catalogue some time ago, so when I was looking for birthday and Christmas presents in 2013, I added them to the list. And guess what he ended up getting that year. ;-)

It took him a little while to get around to reading them and once he was done I put off reading them for a little while as well, until I finally got around to picking up the first in the series in October last year.

This story introduces the character of Mary Russell, a young orphan living in Sussex who makes the acquaintance of a retired Sherlock Holmes. The story charts their relationship as she grows from a teenager to a young woman at university and joins him in solving mysteries whilst demonstrating an equal intellect with the master detective himself.

It took me a while to actually get into the story. I found it quite slow to start although once it did get going, I did get into it properly. I can't help but think that it could have lost the entire first third of the book without affecting the story too much.

It's also kind of ironic that the main character's name is Mary. I don't think the story mentions whether her middle name is 'Sue' but it might as well be; she's a bit Mary Sue-ish. I haven't run her through the Mary Sue Litmus Test but she seems to flag several markers for me: she has a tragic past, she's super intelligent, other characters are in awe of her. She did grow on me as the story progressed, but I felt like she could have done with some bigger flaws than having big feet.

This book was obviously setting up a romance between Sherlock and Mary. It felt kind of weird because at the start of this book Mary is only fifteen and Sherlock is old enough to be her father. Not that May-December relationships bother me (says the woman with nearly sixteen years between herself and her husband), bit it's a little bit weird when the man in question has been hanging around with the girl since she was a teenager. At least Mary does mature throughout the story, so by the end she is rather less annoying than she was in the beginning.

Since finishing this book I've started work on the next one in the series. I can't say that these will ever be my favourites, but they make for a good read, particularly if you're keen on Sherlock Holmes and books featuring him.


  1. I love the cover ... so art deco.

    1. All three of the books have pretty covers. I've not really looked at the third one, but the second one is my favourite cover so far. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)