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4.4 out of 5 stars107
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 19 August 2015
I was thoroughly impressed with this novel. The depth of research that the author has gone into to flesh out the background of her characters is impressive. She has managed to get a real flavour of Conan Doyle in her story, and the development of the relationship between Holmes and Russell is very realistic. As soon as I finished this book, I downloaded the second in the series, and ditto when I finished that, I downloaded the third. A real treat to read.
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on 3 August 2002
The Beekeepers Apprentice is one of my favourite books of recent years and improves with re-acquaintance. Being somewhat of an insomniac I have listened to a large number of audio-books and this is one of the best readings, by a single narrator, that I have come across, and has certainly increased my enjoyment of the story.
The tale itself is set firmly during the second decade of the twentieth centuary, but the threads that run through it of a meeting of souls, partnership, adventure, risk and cost are timeless. At times thoughtful, exciting, moving, this a story to be re-visited and to muse upon the echos and reflections that run through this book and its sucessors.
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on 13 August 2015
A female perspective of what it would have been like to learn from and work with the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Plenty of references to the original work by Conan Doyle, cases big and small and of course a significant intellectual challenge to our hero and heroine in the form of an evil criminal mind. Great stuff!
Some Conan Doyle fans may not enjoy though, Sherlock Holmes working with a woman? Unheard of!
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on 16 January 2013
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! I listen to books on car journeys and find that I want to drive more to listen! I have now bought the next book in the series and this is a joy to read too. I enjoyed the reading style too - Jennie Sterlin seemed to enjoy what she read and made the story live.
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on 28 August 2015
An interesting spin on an old source but somehow ultimately did not fulfill its promise. Cheesy Oxford biopic reminded me of Morse, and just like in Morse when every other character is killed off, hardly a surprise when the denouement happens. With a Sherlock Holmes remake the question is always could this be th ework of Moriarty. And yes we were not disappointed.
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Laurie King is master of plot, character and, unusually in this genre, of language also; on a par with Dorothy L. Sayers for combining 'romantic' interest, and an appeal to the intellect, with psychological drama and the 'who-dun-it'. I got hooked on the series, and, in my opinion, the best so far is the one I have just finished reading, 'The God of the Hive'.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2011
The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first book in Laurie King's Mary Russell series which reimagines Sherlock Holmes in his retirement years. Drawing upon the fact that in "The Return of Sherlock Holmes", Watson states Holmes retired to Surrey to study bees, this book charts the inadvertent meeting and training of the heroinne by Holmes: hence the title.

There are several cases reminiscent of Doyle's work but as luck would have it, young Russell is lithe, athletic and outspoken, which in turn allows for action scenes Doyle could never have contemplated. Her American upbringing allows outspokenness (not to mention feministic equality) that Watson would never have shown.

That being said King manages to explain and celebrate the differences from Doyle's work (whilst drawing a direct lineage) with a deftness and surety that is entirely believeable. And to clarify the writer's vehicle so nakedly in the book itself must be applauded.

I was unable to put down this book, especially since this reading had come so soon after my review of audiobook version of "The Return of Sherlock Holmes". There are also numerous humorous passages- and the passage which hints at Holmes's awareness of homosexual overtones is so akin to self parody, I almost dropped the book laughing. I thought it was nearly similar to hypothetical scenario where Cagney breaks a lesbian joke to Lacey.

Holmes himself is brought to life in a way that Doyle was not always able to in the confines of short stories.

I thought this book was such a success that I am wary of following the rest of the series, in the event that the following volumes are a disappointment.
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on 18 November 2013
Beautifully written, with subtle zest and an excellent storyline. I feel as if I have time-travelled and am completely immersed in the era. Promptly have downloaded as many of the series as available. I regret only that there is no list in order of progression of books of this idea which order to read them in!
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on 9 February 2011
My husband introduced me to Mary Russell at Christmastime. To be honest, when I read the precis on the back I thought that these books were going to be completely naff. The concept of trying to bring a 'modern' woman into the Sherlock Holmes novels, written by a new, female writer decades later sounded absurd, and I dreaded the consequences.

But, ever the dutiful wife (!) and bored one dull, dreary afternoon I decided to dip in and see what I found. Oh dear - four books later and I'm completely hooked!

They are fantastic. Suspend any notion of them being at all 'Sherlock Holmes' novels, and that Mary is supposed to be of her time nearly 100 years ago (she is most definately C21st and not C early 20th) and enjoy these books for what they are - ripping good yarns. They are grown up Nancy Drew mysteries, great romps with cracking plots and characters both interesting and capable of inducing empathy. Think Enid Blyton meets Arthur Conan Doyle (the poor man must be positively seasick in his grave) and you're there or thereabouts. Huge, anglo saxon, middle class fun. No shopping, no angst over marriage, no competitive mummies and their offspring, no Cath Kidston style vernacular, as seems to be the case with modern chick lit. Just a damn good read; great plots and enough twists to keep you from needing a nail file for a while.

Unmissable! Start with this one and devour at leisure.
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on 25 August 2013
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 your taste but the story is fast paced and keeps you guessing. The first of the series and the rest of the series is just as good.
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