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Most Helpful Favorable Review
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes- Expanded
posted by Cher58 on April 11, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.
Not for Everyone
posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2007Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2014
I was severely disappointed by this second outing in the "B
I was severely disappointed by this second outing in the "Beekeeper's Apprentice" series. There's much less of Holmes and much more of Mary Russell, who comes across very much as a "Mary Sue", a stand-in for the author's wish fulfillment fantasies, jammed into a Sherlock Holmes pastiche.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
While the first novel had a very Conan-Doyle type mystery to sustain its heroine's failings, this second novel really doesn't have much of a mystery at all, and the denouement is painfully obvious from about halfway through the book.
As every "Mary Sue" must be, our Mary Russell is adored by all, and superhuman in intelligence, endurance, and in overcoming obstacles that lay low the laity. The other characters seem to be stock characters by comparison; her flighty but good-hearted friend Veronica, Veronica's battle-weary addict of a boyfriend, and the supposed antagonist of the piece, a feminist cult leader.
There's some beautifully efficient writing in this book, but all too often in service of stock scenes that seem like bad Merchant Ivory movie footage that was wisely left on the cutting room floor.
This period of time in world history was a fascinating breathing space between WW1 and WW2. In the midst of it, Fitzgerald gave us "The Great Gatsby". Looking back through the eyes of her "Mary Sue", King gives us a boring and pedantic look at Biblical scholarship, and avoids Women's Suffrage, the disruption to British life caused by the loss of millions of young men, and the beginning of the end of the British Empire itself.
Instead, we focus on a female biblical scholar at Cambridge who magically and wholly unrealistically never encounters any chauvinism or boorishness at study. In reality, she probably would have been mooned at her dissertation.
Conan Doyle succeeded by making Doctor Watson our stand-in, a man of intelligence, but not one who upstaged Holmes. Here Holmes is little more than romantic fodder for our "Mary Sue".
Posted September 13, 2011
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