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

Average Rating 4.5
( 186 )
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5 Star

(114)

4 Star

(42)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommend - Book 1 of a great series.

I highly recommend the Laurie King series of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novels. I already owned all of these physical books, but bought them again for my Nook. The story itself is excellent. However, I was a little surprised by the number of typos that appear in the N...
I highly recommend the Laurie King series of Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novels. I already owned all of these physical books, but bought them again for my Nook. The story itself is excellent. However, I was a little surprised by the number of typos that appear in the NOOKbook version. Little things like "1" or "7" appearing where it should be "I" and some problems handling text with different fonts (such as letters or notes embedded in the story).

posted by MC45 on December 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Mixed Bag

I consider this book a mixed bag. The main characters were well drawn, but the reader was left wondering about the wicked aunt --who would make a great character-- and the near absence of Watson, who is described as little better than an idiot. The plot was intriguing--...
I consider this book a mixed bag. The main characters were well drawn, but the reader was left wondering about the wicked aunt --who would make a great character-- and the near absence of Watson, who is described as little better than an idiot. The plot was intriguing--after it got going. The first 100 pages were spent attempting to dispel any possible objection the reader might have to the young girl's situation: In 1910s London how could she have access to money? How could she have so much freedom? How could she live with Holmes? How could she have access to schooling reserved for males? Etc. One final criticism, the trip to Israel was a huge, unnecessary aside. It seemed that the author had taken a trip recently and wanted to include her travelogue in the book. If the heroine's Jewishness had been important to the story, their voyage to the homeland would have been more appropriate. As it was, there was only a slight mention that she was Jewish before the trip and no real significance shown afterward. This author has won many prizes so I guess I shouldn't argue with success, but I was not satisfied that aspects of the novel were sufficiently explored or tied together.

posted by 4512833 on September 17, 2012

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  • Posted October 5, 2012

    So worth the read.

    I was delightfully surprised by this new find. Was intrigued by the cover and the story line concept. What a truly wonderful decision to meander down this path and now I am on the 3rd book in the series. Totally hooked and look forward to many nights of enjoyment to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Loved it!

    I was skeptical that Sherlock Holmes could be brought into a new book successfully, but was delighted by this one! Highly recommend for Holmes fans and for those who just like a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Engrossing

    Not the best non-canonical Holmes book I've read, but still very enjoyable. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Interesting Book

    First time I've read this author. Interesting premise and good read. Not a fast read, starts a little slow, but pace picks up as you get further into the book. Will definitely read the next book in the series

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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    This is a fun read of you like the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

    Anyone who has enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes series will enjoy reading this first book in the series. The Beekeeper's Apprectice was very enjoyable because it brings back to readers Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Granted they are both older but still very wise and they seem to have met their match in a young Mary Russell. I intend to read the entire series because Ms. King's writing style is so similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original books.

    It's a wonderful way to spend a snowy weekend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Fascinating

    A fascinating followup on the beloved Shherlock holmes stories

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Pure turky

    Turky!!!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    A pure joy to read

    I have not had so much fun reading a novel in many years. Faithful to the Holmes tradition, yet finding its own voice in a female perspective during and after the first World War, this book stayed true to the original characters but also moved them forward in thier lives. I look forward to the rest of the series.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    A great read.

    Highly recommend. I will read all in the series, I am sure.

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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

    more from this reviewer

    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

    more from this reviewer

    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 February 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read!!

    I loved this book. It was a suspenseful, mysterious thrill that sucked you into its pages. I felt like I was there; a third character unmentioned. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    Love this book!

    Brilliant A must reac for anyone who has ever enjoyed a Sherlock Holmes story

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    Best Book I have Read This Summer - Couldn't Wait to Get the 2nd Book

    What would it be like to match wits and intellect with the Great and Legendary Sherlock Holmes? To be mentored by and to be become a best friend to him as a young woman? To be respected and treated as an intellectual equal and to have you own great insights and moments of bravery when you save the day? Whether it is verbal sparring, dressing up as a gypsy and disguising yourself, or traveling to Palestine with him, "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" is an entertaining, stimulating, exciting, fun, and a fantastic book. At first, just reading the description and looking at the picture, I only thought it might be okay but I wasn't feeling that excited about reading it. Within the first chapter, I was having fun. A few more chapters, I was already looking forward to reading the second book. I stayed up every night to read until 1:00 am and looked forward to leaving work to read some more.

    If you like mysteries, strong women, a match of wit and the mind, and want some fun entertainment with adventure, thrill, drama, and roller coasters, this is a great book! I had bought the Complete Sherlock Holmes series on the Nook for the $1.99 and wasn't sure if I was ever going to read it. After reading this book, I do want to go back and read about Sherlock Holmes and read about some of the characters they mention in this book.

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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

    more from this reviewer

    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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