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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly readable
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...
Published on 26 Feb 2006 by Glen Engel Cox

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read for Holmes fans
Being an avid follower of Conan Doyle's stories, I was I confess quite excited on seeing this book - I still remember the gloomy feeling brought on when I finished all of Sherlock Holmes and realised that I would not be able to read any for the first time again - the possibility that a modern author could write 'new' Sherlock Holmes stories is always a captivating...
Published on 21 Feb 2011 by Contentcritic


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly readable, 26 Feb 2006
By 
Glen Engel Cox (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Authentic and Enjoyable Portrayal of Holmes!!!, 27 Feb 2006
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
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, 8 Sep 2003
By 
Di (London, England) - See all my reviews
When I was first given this book, it had just come out in print and I did not believe that I would enjoy it. I was vacationing in Russia and had finished all of the other books I had brought with me when I remembered The Beekeeper's Apprentice was still in my bag. I had not even bothered to read the back cover when I first recieved it because I could not imagine anything with such a title being very interesting. Luckily, I did read it then. I must say that from the moment I opened it, I knew that I had never read anything better. Laurie R King did a magnifisent job when she wrote it. I was ingulfed by the characters and the story line from the moment I opened it. I was able to finish the entire novel within two days, without doing anything else. I couldn't wait for the next one to come out.
The character of Mary Russel was an amazing match for that of Sherlock Holmes. The two make a wonderful pair in solving crimes and trully complement each other from whit to history to style. A must read for anyone looking for a mystery or an adventure.Mary is a character that a girl can really grow up admiring
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holmes is back !, 30 July 2007
By 
A. Hope "bookcrossing ali" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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I loved this book. I am a huge Holmes fan - and so half expected to be disappointed by Laurie King's representation of him. However I thought the character was great - very faithful to the original - although maybe a tad mellower - possibly due to retirement and no cocaine I suppose - the relationship he develops with Mary Russel is lovely, and it was wonderful to meet up again with Watson and Mrs Hudson. It feels as if Laurie King has given us Sherlock Holmes back - and I think I will be reading many more of this series. Russell is a fiesty, gutsy female - only 15 when we first meet her, and she first meets Holmes while he is studying bees, she ends up at Oxford, with frequent visits back to Sussex to see Holmes, and of course Holmes appears in disguise in her rooms at Oxford - just like you know he will. Great Stuff. I don't generally read mystery type books -or rarely at least, but this made a really nice change.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read for Holmes fans, 21 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) (Paperback)
Being an avid follower of Conan Doyle's stories, I was I confess quite excited on seeing this book - I still remember the gloomy feeling brought on when I finished all of Sherlock Holmes and realised that I would not be able to read any for the first time again - the possibility that a modern author could write 'new' Sherlock Holmes stories is always a captivating one.

The reality here of course is that this is not a Sherlock Holmes story, but rather one about a young lady who happens upon him. Aside from her inexplicably vehement distaste for Watson and her at times rather tiring overemotive nature, she's quite an engaging character, ready to have a knock about and get her hands dirty. The adventures in Wales that they have, culminating in a very exciting conclusion which I won't spoil here, are very readable. There is some mystery solving and decoding, but it's pretty tame compared to Conan Doyle's stuff and doesn't bear well in comparison.

This is really the problem here - the book is set up to be a different take on Holmes, from the point of view of a fresh protagonist, but the quality of the story just isn't there when compared to the original. It would have been much better to create Mary Russell as a new and independent character without the Holmes link and just write stories about her,rather than shoe horn her into a pre-existing character's world. This particularly seems odd when Mary Russell spends paragraphs emoting about Jerusalem and the Holy Land - it's all very interesting but it just seems to be a bit of an irrelevant tangent on the author's part and nothing to do with developing the story or characters in any meaningful way.

The links to Sherlock Homes, and in particular to the notion that he would have married some decades beneath his age, are pretty weak and unconvincing alas, which did make me wonder if using Holmes was a device to access a large and pre-existing fan base. Sorry if that's a bit overcynical, but the style of writing and the characterisation jars to that extent with Conan Doyle's graceful and fluid prose that the whole idea is rather undermined.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Beekeeper's Apprentice, 2 Aug 2009
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a surprise, 16 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) (Paperback)
This is my first read of a book by this author. I must say that I throughly enjoyed it. It put a completely different picture in my mind of Sherlock Holmes, and the shock of him falling in love , let alone eventually getting married.

I have now ordered a further 3 books in the series, which I can't wait to read.

I would highly recommend this to another reader
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock lives again., 25 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) (Paperback)
Fast paced, a great read. I never thought to read Sherlock beyond the originals but a comment on a thread somewhere about the BBC's recent reworking led me to try this. A fun read with vivid characters, real villains and plenty of twists. I've already ordered the next but it's taking it's time turning up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - physically and content-wise!, 14 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) (Paperback)
One of the best post-Doyle exploration of the famous detective, with a refreshingly new perspective and most satisfying consistency of style - read and enjoy!
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The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) by Laurie R. King (Paperback - 7 Aug 2010)
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