The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or, On the Segregation of the Queen

The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or, On the Segregation of the Queen

Book - 1994
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What would happen if Sherlock Homles, a perfect man of the Victorian age--pompous, smug, and misogynisitic--were to come face to face with a twentieth-century female? If she grew to be a partner worthy of his great talents?

Laurie R. King, whose very different first novel,. A Grave Talen t (SMP, 1993), drew rave reviews, read the Conan Doyle stories and wondered about such an imaginary encounter. And following through, she has written The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

1914, a young woman named Mary Russell meets a retired beekeeper on the Sussex Downs. His name is Sherlock Holmes. And although he may have all the Victorian "flaws" listed above, the Great Detective is no fool, and can spot a fellow intellect even in a fifteen-year-old woman.

So, at first informally, then consciously, he takes Mary Russell as his apprentice. They work on a few small local cases, then on a larger and more urgent investigation, which ends successfully. All the time, Mary is developing as a detective in her own right, with the benefit of the knowledge and experience of her mentor and, increasingly, friend.

And 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 off their relationship.

This is not a "Sherlock Holmes" story. It is the story of a modern young woman who comes to know and work with Holmes, the story of young woman coming to terms with herself and with this older man who embodies the age that is past.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994.
ISBN: 9780312104238
Branch Call Number: FIC/King 31au 01
FIC King
Characteristics: xvii, 347 p.


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Feb 05, 2010

Sherlock Holmes--wickedly intelligent, almost supernaturally observant, full of contempt for anyone else?s thought processes, a cocaine addict, and a beekeeper to boot-- is drama enough without adding a gawky fifteen-year-old orphan girl who?s every bit as sharp as the great detective himself. But that?s out heroine, Mary Russell, who runs full tilt into Holmes one sunny day in 1915 as she strolls through the fields with her nose in a book. They take an immediate liking to each other, finding in the other a kindred spirit with whom to match wits and intelligence. Russell becomes Holmes? apprentice in the art of sleuthing and is a superb student; as the years pass and they solve minor crimes together, a deep friendship and close understanding grows between them. Their unique partnership is threatened, however, by a strange case during Russell?s college years at Oxford after World War I. A master criminal, as devious as the infamous Professor Moriarty, is playing a deadly game with Holmes and Russell?s very lives. How the unlikely duo crack the case is only slightly less intriguing than the evolving relationship between the master and his young partner. This is all accompanied by author Laurie R. King?s fine literary style, with Mary Russell as an intimately honest narrator, and a detailed sense of historical time and place. The other eight books in this series continue to develop both the Holmes mythology and the Mary Russell casebook with insightful adventures that draw on literature and history. The after-effects of World War I are investigated in the next two books, A Monstrous Regiment of Woman and A Letter of Mary, and in book six, Justice Hall. The scene of Holmes? most famous case, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is revisited in The Moor (book three). Real-life crime writer Dashiel Hammet (best known for The Maltese Falcon) is a character in book eight, Locked Rooms, which is set in Prohibition-era San Francisco. Political intrigue and British espionage in the Middle East and India are explored in O Jerusalem and The Game (books five and seven), which also reference the ?lost years? from the original Sherlock Holmes canon. And the most recent entry in the series, 2009?s The Language of Bees, resurrects the ghost of Holmes? original brainy love interest, Irene Adler, to artfully combine past stories with the lively new life that Holmes and Russell lead in King?s intelligent, literary, and masterful mysteries.

Novels of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King:
1. The Beekeeper?s Apprentice
2. A Monstrous Regiment of Women
3. A Letter of Mary
4. The Moor
5. O Jerusalem
6. Justice Hall
7. The Game
8. Locked Rooms
9. The Language of Bees
10. The God of the Hive (due 2010)

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