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The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or, on the Segregation of the Queen Paperback – 1 Aug 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books; Reissue edition (Aug. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553571656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553571653
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.3 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,552,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Crime fiction’s most unlikely but utterly credible romance… Laurie King is the most interesting writer to emerge on the American crime fiction front in recent years’
Val McDermid (of THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE)

‘A novel which challenges the cliches of history’
Indpendent (of A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN)

‘King’s novel is civilized, ingenious and engrossing’
Literary Review (of THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE)

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

From the Inside Flap

In 1915, long since retired from his crime-fighting days, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybees on the Sussex Downs. Never did the Victorian detective think to meet an intellect matching his own-until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a young twentieth-century lady whose mental acuity is equaled only by her penchant for deduction, disguises, and danger. Under Holmes's reluctant tutelage,
Russell embarks on a case involving a landowner's mysterious fever and the kidnapping of an American senator's daughter in the wilds of Wales. Then a near-fatal bomb on her doorstep-and another on Holmes's-sends the two sleuths on the trail of a murderer who scatters bizarre clues and seems utterly without motive. The villain's objective, however, is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes's partnership-and then their lives. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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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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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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