Name: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
Author: Laurie R. King
Genre: Suspense, Crime
Available at and/or More Information:
The great Sherlock Holmes has retired and moved to a quiet countryside estate in the Sussex Downs. He occupies himself by studying the life and habits of honeybees, who live in carefully constructed boxes dotting his property. While taking a break from his studies, he’s literally bumped into by a fifteen-year-old girl named Mary Russell.
Mary is extremely intelligent, to the point that she’s got a ego rivaling that of Sherlock Holmes. Recently orphaned, Mary lives a short distance away in a home she shares with her domineering aunt. After initially being irritated with one another, Mary found a father-like figure in Sherlock and visited his house on a daily basis. Likewise, Mrs. Hudson became a mother-figure.
This book is split into multiple cases, each leading into the other. As Mary grows into a beautiful young lady and talented apprentice to the former private detective, Sherlock uncovers a dangerous plot by old adversaries to separate the duo in order to defeat Sherlock once and for all.
(SPOILER!!) In the following books, Mary and Sherlock enter a romantic relationship and eventually marry. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is a platonic introduction.
Sherlock is now in his mid-fifties. He’s not as harsh and critical as he was in his younger days, and has settled down into a hands-on teacher’s role. He is also more understanding of the softer emotions and even apologies a time or two. If you don’t like the idea of Sherlock taking a backseat, then this isn’t the book for you.
In the beginning, I was worried if I’d even like Mary. She’s an egotistical brat with a high opinion of herself and knows perfectly well that she could easily outwit someone twice her age. Thankfully, meeting Sherlock Holmes seems to knock her back a few notches and she’s able to mature into a stable adult. Meeting the adorably kind Watson is also a contributing factor.
The relationship between Sherlock and Mary is hilarious. She’s not afraid to snap back at his temper tantrums, and sometimes he just gives up and storms off in a huff. Their personalities mesh together so well that they truly are a great detective team. Poor Holmes tries to keep her from danger by slipping out the back door on several occasions, but Mary Russell is always there and knows immediately that something is wrong. She can’t be fooled very easily.
All the characters we know and love also make their appearances. Mycroft Holmes is still mysterious in his work, but sarcastically affectionate to his dear brother. John Watson is still adorable and clueless. And Mrs. Hudson still lives with Holmes and acts as his maid of sorts.
An overall good book and interesting take on Sherlock Holmes. For the most part, the plot is slow and relaxed, with the occasional hair-raising situation, but the mystery itself is very interesting.