Customer Reviews for

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 4, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A Holmes pastiche Great!

    This first novel of the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series hits every note just right. The aging great detective Sherlock Holmes takes on Mary Russell, a brilliant 15 year old girl as his apprentice, who is our narrator. Although King takes a few liberties with Conan Doyle's cannon - Holmes is a little younger - she gets the characters exactly right. She also brings Holmes into the "real world" by having Conan Doyle be Watson's literary agent. The voices of the characters ring true, from Holmes' sardonic laughter, to Dr "uncle John" Watson's bumbling good heartedness. The best non-Conan Doyle Holmes out there by far. I've read this book more times than I can tell you.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The infamous Holmes continues with new adventure-throught the heart and mind-and a new partner

    I love this book. If you love Holmes and those types of mysteries that you become completely ensconced in, then this series is for you. I never want to put down any of Laurie R. King's books because they're so amazingly written with such minute details and enthralling characters and twisting plots that leave you wanting more as you turn page after page of pure mastery in the art of writing.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    Laurie R. King┬┐s tale more than just a well done homage

    In 1915 fifteen year old expatriate American orphan Mary Russell meets retired detective Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs. The sleuth finds the feisty intelligent heiress much more refreshing than the bees he normally communicates with. He decides to make her his apprentice in the science of detecting on the condition she keeps her studies at Oxford up. When she is at her new home, her aunt¿s house, and he on a case, he will train her.------------ She works a few minor cases for Holmes when they are asked to investigate the kidnapping of American senator Simpson in Wales. They quickly conclude that a genius is behind the abduction of Jessica. After Russell proves her worth by rescuing Jessica, someone tries to kill her, Holmes and Dr. Watson. The sleuths believe the same criminal behind the kidnapping wants to destroy Holmes.------------- This is a reprint of the first Russell-Holmes collaboration and though over a decade old with several subsequent sequels since, THE BEEKEEPER¿S APPRENTICE retains a freshness. The story line grips the audience from the moment the precocious teen meets the beekeeper partly because of the terrific rendition of the lead characters as Homes seems Doyle like and more and partly because England in WW I comes alive. The mystery is clever, but it is the meeting of the minds that makes Laurie R. King¿s tale more than just a well done homage.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Give it a try, trust me.

    I'm a big fan of Doyle's original Holmes stories, so I was a little skeptical. This story was a wonderful homage to Sherlock Holmes, though King's presentation of him is unique, she makes it her own while respecting tradition.
    Part of why it is successful is that King makes her protagonist the original character of Mary Russell, a modern girl with a gifted mind and a troubled past. The audience gets to experience Doyle's characters through her and it it thoroughly enjoyable. A great adventure with an intruiging mystery, danger and friendship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

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    Wow!

    I was very impressed! Laurie King has resurrected Sherlock Holmes not by adding yet more improbable adventures with Watson in his heyday, but by bringing him another confederate in his "retirement years". He was supposed to have moved from London to the country to study bees, so enter 15-year-old Mary Russell, parent-less and living with a detested aunt, possessed of a keen, observant mind very like Holmes himself. They hit it off and Holmes tutors Russell in observation and reasoning, and shares esoteric research with her. I really enjoyed the book, and was happy to learn that there are, so far, 7 sequels. I am on book 5 now, and just as impressed !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Well written. However, speaking as a Sherlockaholic, it is not w

    Well written. However, speaking as a Sherlockaholic, it is not well thought out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

    Better than the originals!

    I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan. I quote him at least once a week. So when I heard of this series, I was skeptical. But oh! is it good!

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

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    My favorite mystery ever

    This is my favorite mystery ever. I have loved Sherlock Holmes ever since I watched the old black-and-white Basil Rathbone movies when I was a kid (well, more of a kid anyway), and from there I read the books. I thought it was the coolest thing that when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill Holmes, there was such a protest from fans that he was forced to bring him back. I think Laurie King would have been one of those fans.


    In The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the author respects the original story and characters while making them all her own. What if Holmes' adventures were recorded by someone who could act as a full partner to him? Someone who understood his plans as he made them, rather than when they fell into place? That partner is Miss Mary Russell. Clever, young and neglected, she is the one to draw Holmes out of his dull retirement and bring his mind back to life. There are not enough words to describe how much I love the character Mary Russell. She is brilliantly logical with an impressive breadth of knowledge and insatiable curiosity as well as just a touch of youthful naivete. I found her to be realistic and easy to relate to.


    Holmes...well, everybody knows the great Sherlock Holmes, but in this book you see a different side of him. Along with the famous detective, you see the man, who is more complicated and intense than ever before. The conversations he has with Russell on a variety of subjects are well thought out and fascinating. His words and actions reveal a tightly controlled passion. You also see his protectiveness of those he loves and his deep fear of making mistakes. This Holmes is more human than the original in the best sense of the word.


    I loved the writing and the dialogue, both of which have a wry sense of humor winding through them. Drama and danger walk side by side with domesticity and ordinary life. The plot and mystery are almost secondary to the beautiful writing and intelligent conversations, but not quite. The plot was designed perfectly to fit Holmes and Russell as they evolve from teacher and student to equal partners. The difficulties they face test them on every level, giving the reader an opportunity to truly get to know them. The ending is far less important than how they get there.


    This is a must-read for lovers of mystery, Sherlock Holmes and wonderful writing. I have probably read this book 5 times since I first discovered it 4 years ago.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

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    A fresh re-imagining of the classic hero

    In THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, Laurie R. King takes a literary icon and rejuvenates him in a way that is truly awe-inspiring. In the place of the cold and calculating Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation stands a complex and captivating character who is just enough like the old Holmes to be recognizable. The relationship that develops between the detective and his protégé is captivating. Holmes is forced to recognize that he has finally met his equal, and the mixture of eagerness and incredulity is endearing. The banter and warmth between the unlikely pair paints a picture of the deep bond grounded in a meeting of minds that neither ever expected to find.

    King judiciously mixes the old with the new. Though Holmes is a very different character, fans of the original will still appreciate her new perspective on the beloved detective. King's original creation, Mary, is spunky and smart and will instantly win over the most hard-hearted reader. Separately, they are interesting, but together they are irresistible. Their partnership is more balanced and engaging than Holmes and Watson's ever was -- though the old companion does make an appearance, and is charming in his own way. The story is less about the traditional mystery and deduction than about Holmes's and Mary's transformation: Holmes into a rounded and relateable human being, and Mary into the next generation of infallible supersleuth. However, the novel still keeps readers on their toes with the string of surprises and dangerous adventures that seem to stalk the great detective's every step.

    ~Review from thebookishtype[dot]blogspot[dot]com

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

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    Sherlock Holmes gets help...

    Mary Russell, a young woman of intelligence and a keen sense of logic, stumbles upon Sherlock Holmes. He is now semi-retired and staying at a quaint country cottage, puttering away his days. Has time passed him by?

    First a conversation, then friendship and finally training under the great detective, helping in his experiments.

    But things don't stay quiet long as an attempt is made on Holmes' life! By who? And almost as important why?

    And so we follow along a merry chase as we try to solve the crime along with Holmes and Russell. Back to London, returning to his old lifestyle and haunts, revisiting old friends and adversaries in search for clues. Can they solve the mystery before the attempts on Holmes' life succeed?

    This is book one in a series. I'm hooked. I think you will be too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    Like recconecting with an old friend

    It has been years since I have read Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, is like catching up with an old friend. Mary Russell is a breath of fresh air and puts a new twist on the old characters.

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  • Posted May 12, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    My New Favorite Author

    Laurie R. King is my new favorite author. I was introduced to her Mary Russell Mysteries when I read "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" which is the second book in the nine-book series. When I finished that book, I immediately went to Barnes and Noble to purchase "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" in order to discover how this unexpected resurrection and reinvention of the beloved Sherlock Holmes began. Imagine! Sherlock Holmes as a beekeeper in Sussex, and the friend and mentor to 15-year-old orphan, Mary Russell. For anyone who reads this series of books, "The Beekeeper's apprentice" is essential, and delightful. Laurie R. King's writing style is Intelligent, witty and imaginative. I appreciate her attention to detail in the history, vocabulary, style and culture of the early 20th century. I plan to add all of the Mary Russell Mysteries to my book collection.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Bringing the Feminine to Baker Street

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice looks at Sherlock Holmes' post-career in an inviting and interesting way, introducing Mary Russell as a more capable foil to the irascible Holmes, but by making Russell the central character and Holmes the foil. Well done! There's just enough sexual tension (quite spare actually) to keep the reader wondering. The storylines are well-written and the characters are faithful to Doyle, yet give additional dimension to Holmes through Mary Russell's connections. Russell is a great additional to the genre, showing the more human side to Holmes with all of the doubt and questioning that we missed with Holmes.

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    New Take on Classic--Pulled Off Well

    Though Holmes has been done half to death even in Conan Doyle's esteem King has proven there are still some tricks up his sleeve. King has produced wonderfully new plot lines while remaining loyal to Conan Doyle's writing style, but the master stroke in this book is The Apprentice herself. Our new view-point character is a brilliant and liberated women who still manages to entertain instead of annoy. She is very like Holmes himself in this and most other ways.

    This book is a joy to read and easy to recommend.

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  • Posted June 27, 2009

    Meershaum and the Maiden

    The title of The Beekeeper's Apprentice gives away the basic premise of the story: that the title character has met the retired Sherlock Holmes and become his pupil. But there's a twist.

    Mary Russell is square peg in a round hole. She is nearing adulthood and does not fit in the rustic Sussex countryside. It is suffocating her, intellectually and emotionally. By chance, if you can call it that, she finds herself at the home of an eccentric neighbor whose principle avocation is beekeeping, but who disappears from time to time. This is none other than Sherlock Holmes, enjoying semi-retirement in the care of Mrs. Hudson, who has followed him to the countryside as his housekeeper.

    Russell and Holmes find they enjoy working together, and the story hints at a long future for the pair. Holmes is not so old as Dr. Watson's accounts made him seem. Nor has he completely abandoned his links to London.

    The improbable premise works, in part because Russell boths embraces her blossoming womanhood and chafes under it. There are also hints of trouble in her past, including old scars that cover deeper wounds.

    Laurie King has a winner in this series.

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  • Posted June 5, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    The first of the Mary Russell series featuring Sherlock Holmes sunk it's hooks into me and wouldn't let go! If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, it's a natural - Laurie R. King captures Holmes as a living, breathing "he actually lived" character that stays true to the original. I was captivated by the story and the atmosphere that was drawn around me as I read. I was involuntarily immersed in the plot, the characters are rich, and Mary Russell is definitely a captivating heroine that is Holmes' true match who manages to remain original and true to herself. Read the entire series!

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

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    The Bee Keepers Apprentice

    My wife gave me this book for a Christmas present, and it is a good thing that she did. I was somewhat aware of the fact that an author had written a new Sherlock Holmes mystery, however being a "purest" at heart, I doubt seriously that I would have bought this book for myself as it was not written by Conan Doyle. However, I have been proved wrong in supposing that a new story could not be as good as those of the master. This was a fantastic read and I went through the book in a couple of days. This is book #1 of an 8 volume series...and I am now reading the 4th, if that will give you an idea of how well I regard this book. The author, Laurie King, has done a superb job with Sherlock Holmes and the character of Mary Russell. In fact, if you are a fan of the late, great Jeremy Brett and his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the Granada television series, then you will instantly recognize his impact on the author as she wrote the book. Jeremy Brett's incomparable style comes through the books story and is a pure pleasure to read and, even more amazingly, the book is written through the eyes and pen of the other main character, Mary Russell. The introduction of Mary Russell, and how they meet, I will leave to your enjoyment...with a small clue: pay attention to the authors introduction and Mary Russells own preliminary introduction before the story begins, and you may pick up on a vital bit of information as to how this story, and the following series,will evolve. The game is afoot!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2007

    Beekeeper's Apprentice

    Written by Laurie R. King, this book was on the Battle of the Books list for high school this previous year. The story takes place in 1915, and is about the life of an incredibly smart fifteen-year-old girl, who becomes an apprentice to the famous Sherlock Holmes who was retired at the time. Miss Mary Russell and her mentor, Holmes, embark on an adventure that takes them from their home in the Sussex Downs, to Wales, and eventually Palestine. The book is wonderfully written, and contains everything a person could want for a good read. The characters are unexpected and intriguing, as well as deeply mysterious. The combination causes an intimate relationship between reader and characters, and continues to surprise as the book develops. The book is the first of eight, and the themes are written at a level best understood by young adults and older readers. Laurie R. King has done a magnificent job, and the book should be read by all those who love an interesting and often odd mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006

    Grandma Knows Best!!

    I have never, ever liked mystery novels and I have to admit that I have never read the original Sherlock Holmes series. Most of the books I've read favor detailed clues over the actual pursuit of the bad guys & the lives of the detectives. However, my grandmother sent me 3 of the Mary Russell series and I have not stopped reading them. I love the interplay between Holmes & Ms. Russell. Ms. King is very talented at painting an environment for her characters. I do have one complaint however. For those of us who like to have a story develop throughout the series, Ms. King essentially crammed the entire interactions of her characters into the first book and then used the rest of the series to expand on points she mentioned in the first book. By the middle of The Beekeeprs Apprentice, I knew the future of Mr. Holmes & Ms. Russells relationship & at least 4 or 5 cases the worked on together sometime in the future that are not part of the first book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    One of my favorite series!

    I love historical mysteries, and this series is one of the best. Intelligent, humorous, and interesting. Engaging characters, rich settings, and great stories. You won't be disappointed!

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