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The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) [Paperback]

Laurie R. King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

8 July 2010 Mary Russell Mystery 01
1915. The great detective Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honey bees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes - and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protegee and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. In their first case together, they must track down a kidnapped American senator's daughter and confront a truly cunning adversary - a bomber who has set trip-wires for the sleuths and who will stop at nothing to end their partnership.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749008520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749008529
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Wonderfully original and entertaining - absorbing from beginning to end' Booklist

From the Back Cover

'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' is a brilliantly inventive novel that tells the story of Mary Russell, a young girl, who, in 1914, meets a retired beekeeper on the Sussex Downs. His name is Sherlock Holmes, and smug misogynist though he may be, the Great Detective is no fool and can spot a fellow intellect even in a fifteen-year-old woman.

He takes Mary on as his apprentice, and she hones her budding detective skills on a number of small local cases, but 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 their relationship . . .

'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' is a fascinating and beautifully observed novel from the award-winning Laurie King.

"Mary Russell combines the quirky intellect of her mentor with a modern modus operandi . . . A heroine to content with"
TIME OUT

"One of the most gifted and literate writers the mystery world ahs ever seen"
VAL McDERMID

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly readable 26 Feb 2006
Format:Paperback
It's a rare book indeed that I find myself compelled to read straight through, and this has become an even more rare occurrence in recent years due to an increasingly busy life. So when I tell you that I read this book in two days in two sittings, that should give you a good indication of just how compelling this book is.
Yes, it's a Sherlock Holmes book. Yes, it's not by Conan Doyle. I'm not normally one to recommend a book that uses characters created by other writers, but there's an exception to everything, and King is the exception. Give her credit for the creation of a character just as interesting as Holmes, and for portraying Holmes in not just a reverential manner, but a professional one. That is, she lets him grow as a character, rather than keeping him static. This is a huge improvement over Doyle (albeit Holmes changed under his pen, but not quite as believably).
King also has a wonderful plot here, and a wonderful villain. The combination kept me up until 1 a.m. on two nights running. Likely it will do the same for you.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Meet Mary Russell--young, witty, and with an intellect to rival that of the famous, yet aging, Sherlock Holmes. From the first time they meet, they are intrically linked together. Under Holmes's tutelage, Russell embarks on a case involving a landowner's mysterious fever and the kidnapping of an American senator's daughter. Unlike Watson, Russell is on equal footing with Holmes and she even makes deductions that he fails to see. One case leads into another and Holmes’ life soon becomes endangered by an enigmatic and clever opponent. Holmes hasn’t met such a match since Moriarty, but this time around the aging detective has Russell by his side. This is, by far, the most authentic portrayal of Holmes since Arthur Conan Doyle. The repartee between Holmes and Russell is deliciously witty and perfectly written. This was the most pleasurable reading experience in a very long time.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Game's Afoot 17 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback
After the death of her family, Mary Russell, a fifteen year-old, moves to a farm with her "evil" aunt. In one of her walks around the area she meets the famous Sherlock Holmes, who is retired and dedicates his hours to the study of bees. Right from the start the two main characters in the book match their wits and Holmes is surprised by the potential he sees in this young woman. He then decides to tutor her and introduce her to the art of investigative work. In the next few years, they go through a few cases and Mary goes away to Oxford to continue her studies; but at one point they are faced with a more dangerous opponent, who wants to kill not only Holmes, but also Mary; even Dr. Watson and Mycroft are in danger. If you want to know the rest, you better read the book!
In my opinion the author does a very good job in maintaining the particular characteristics that define the characters in Arthur Conan Doyle's books, especially in the case of Sherlock Holmes. It is amazing how you feel that the deductive work is done by exactly the same detective you knew from the past, and with the added benefit of a fresh mind assisting him!
I was very pleased to see the ingenious way in which Laurie King connected this new series with the Conan Doyle's work. She concocted a story about her receiving the manuscripts of the different stories in the series some time ago, and that she is merely the editor. The manuscripts were of course written by the enchanting Mary Russell.
Finally, let me tell you that, since I am an avid chess player, I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which Holmes uses a chess game with Mary to explain the strategy he was planning to utilize in one of their cases.
I will definitely continue reading the books in this series, and if you haven't started yet, I recommend you do it now!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Beekeeper's Apprentice 2 Aug 2009
By Rich
Format:Paperback
I think a reader's enjoyment of this book can be measured by whether they can believe the central conceit. Holmes meets young girl and makes her his partner. In all honesty, I'm not sure I believed it. Mainly because there is a strong sensation that the author is just writing her own fantasy, the other and this is more interesting, how much of what Mary Russell tells us, can we believe? She constantly tells us that Dr Watson's accounts of Holmes are not accurate and inclined to being made more fantastic, so as a reader are we supposed to apply the same scepticism to Mary's account of events. It does add subtext to the novel, having an unreliable narrator. Note, also her attitude towards Watson. Her reading of Watson as an idiot that she and Holmes are rather condescending to smacks more of Mary's jealousy of the friendship between them. Anyway enough of that, the mystery itself is not that strong, at the end of the day, there isn't that much to work out. A fair read which I did enjoy but wasn't that convinced by.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally! 31 July 2007
Format:Paperback
This is how I discovered this book: While attending a small two year college in a one horse town with one main street, I began to hunger for something to do. I had visited the on campus library any number of times and decided that it might be fun to investigate the public library in town. After a small self guided tour I settled into my basic rut; the mystery section. As I was scanning the lowest shelf, crouched on my knees with my glasses on the tip of my nose, I found it!

A book called The Beekeeper's Apprentice, in the middle of the mysteries could only be about one person: Sherlock Holmes! I'd been searching for new material for ages, reading little things meant for children and meant as spoofs, with the usual half amused snort. I even listened the old radio show hoping for something worth my time. I was nearly to the point of succumbing to my fear that I would never find such a thing. I was wrong. As a bonafied Baker Street Irregular, Holmesian or what-have-you, I recommend this book and the seven subsequent volumes to anyone who has ever wished that Sherlock Holmes really lived. (The book even makes you wonder if he did.) Mary Russell is the perfect addition to the "Holmes Gang" and my personal role-model where fiction is concerned. A must read. I can hardley wait for the ninth installment!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Russell
This is an excellent and intriguing book by an intelligent and highly skilled writer. Hers are the few books that I buy new and keep on my bookshelf to read again. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dorothy F. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beekeepers Apprentice
Having recently discovered the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series was delighted to get this one and "go back to the actual beginning".
Published 4 months ago by Margaret Siggs
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining, if not wholly convincing
This full length novel is the first in the spin off series featuring an older Sherlock Holmes, emerging from his supposed retirement on the Sussex Downs, sleuthing just after the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by John Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight!
Beautifully written, with subtle zest and an excellent storyline. I feel as if I have time-travelled and am completely immersed in the era. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MCG
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite reads
I have read this book at least 10 times and it remains a real favourite. It's a twist on the Sherlock Holmes stories, so if you are a die hard Conan Doyle fan it might not be to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars A new take on the Sherlock Holmes stories
If you've tried, or have read Conan Doyle's original classic of Sherlock Holmes, read this. This first book is exciting!
Published 11 months ago by Carole Fulcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Condition excellent
Disliked the story but that is not your problem. Book arrived promptly and was in excellent condition, plenty of time to read before book club.
Published 13 months ago by Phyllis Wigham
3.0 out of 5 stars The beekeepers apprentice
First rate story, page turning pace and entertaining character development. I learns to love and esteem Holmes all over again.
Published 14 months ago by polly lister
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful blend of the old and the new
The story opens with a recently orphaned teenager meeting Sherlock Holmes. Recognising the girl's intelligence and powers of observation Holmes strikes up an acquaintance with the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Caroline
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!
I have found a new author to me, with a wonderful style and the ability to use the complexities of the English vocabulary in structures sentences! Read more
Published 18 months ago by djp
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