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Readers will learn a lot about bee-keeping in bestseller King's sometimes lively, sometimes plodding ninth Mary Russell novel (after Locked Rooms), though the focus is on Sherlock Holmes's estranged artist son, Damien Adler, who pays an unexpected visit to Holmes and Mary Russell, Holmes's wife, in Sussex. Damien, "a drug-addled derelict" who was arrested for his drug dealer's murder several years back, soon becomes a suspect in more recent deaths. He enlists his father's aid in searching for his missing wife and daughter, while Mary undertakes her own quest into Damien's questionable past. Incognito, she finds her way to Damien's shabby Bohemian London home and to the Children of Light, a Druidic-style cult whose disturbing book Testimony, illustrated by Damien, is quoted at the start of each chapter. While the detective's shrewdly observant brother, Mycroft, and other Doyle regulars appear, fans of the original Holmes stories should be prepared for a strong feminist slant. (Apr. 28)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Back in Sussex after nearly a year of globe-trotting adventures (The Game), Mary Russell and husband Sherlock Holmes are immediately catapulted into two different mysteries: the disappearance of Yolanda Adler and her young daughter, and the sudden extinction of one of Holmes's beehives. Sherlock takes on the Adler case, while Mary, never one to mope at home, delves into the intricacies of the apiary. She then heads to London to consult with Mycroft Holmes and insinuates herself into Sherlock's case. And thank goodness, because he clearly needs her help. King's latest is not as much of a travelog as previous series novels, although Russell does charter an airplane. Seeing more of Mycroft is a definite treat, but Russell and her husband spend most of the novel apart, which is never a good thing. King wastes no time dropping bombshells that shake up the canon she's so carefully created. She's a consistently good writer who continues to delight her many fans. A required purchase for all public libraries and fiction collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ1/09.]
"A wonderful blend of sheer wit and canny ratiocination, this is mystery at its most ingenious."—The Guardian on The Art of Detection
"Mesmerizing...King does a wonderful job of probing the human psyche...All of her novels are superb."—Daily American on Locked Rooms
From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King Copyright © 2009 by Laurie R. King. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted February 8, 2012
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are a couple made for each other. I always knew there was a child hidden somewhere. Sherlock and Irene Adler with a son. The author mixes many mysteries into one great novel but always leaving an opening for the next one. Mary is a strong intelligent woman with a mind of her own and a great companion for Sherlock. She is a fine detective in her own right and coupled with Sherlock and sometimes the help of Mycroft Holmes. All in all the series keeps getting better. Once again the "Mystery is Afoot".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2011
This is a fresh exciting tale from the Mary Russell series! Laurie R King brings some new twists and added depth to all of her characters. A great page turning read that had me ready to read about what will happen next!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 17, 2010
This book is another incredible addition to a fantastic series. The writing is excellent. The settings, plots and characters are deep and engaging yet they move along at a great pace...
...I stayed up until 2:00am to finish this book - it was that enjoyable.
If you are new to the series I recommend you start at the beginning to get the know the characters from the start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994). It's worth it.
Posted May 15, 2010
Another installment in the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes saga. As usual, it's well written with a very convoluted plot. The characters are always interesting. My only objection to the book is that it's ending is dependant on the next one - God of the Hives - which is out fortunately. If you liked the others you'll liked this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2009
I originally bought the first of this series on a whim. I absolutely loved them all, with the exception of one that was just "ok".
I can't say enough about how pleased I am with this writer and this series.
This book continues in the same high standard I regard the first 8 books.
Posted October 17, 2009
Posted October 7, 2009
I agree that a show of affection between Holmes and Russell would add depth to the stories. I don't mean anything salacious, but that they are both intellectually driven should not preclude tenderness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2009
I was never a Sherlock Holmes fan but when you add Mary Russell to the equation you get a whole new look at crime. I like the fact that their marriage is of equal parts and she is has a brain as equal to Holmes' and the collaboration between them is heart-warming. They can agree to disagree. This latest adventure kept me thinking....who is really involved in what? The ending is left dangling, somewhat, so another adventure is forthcoming, I'm sure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2009
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Two of the criteria by which I distinguish my favorite mysteries from the general run are whether or not the protagonists are people I'd like to know personally, and whether or not they comport themselves intelligently. "The Language of Bees" is a winner on both counts. Once again the unlikely positing of a young Jewish intellectual as the wife of an older (but still vigorous) Sherlock Holmes provides an exciting and stimulating read, several cuts above the average casual summer fare. The plot, as is the case with the predecessors in this series, focuses more on young Mary Russell than on her beloved husband and mentor. It provides the requisite twists and turns to rivet the reader's attention, while finding room to provide a fascinating discourse on the science of bee keeping, and an on going examination of the difficult and demanding art of combining a successful marriage and a rewarding independence. I hope for many more from the author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
thoroughly enjoyable page turner. I first picked up "Locked Rooms" as a random read and was immediately hooked on the characters and writing style of Laurie King. Imagine the famous Sherlock Holmes married...and to of all things...an American! In Mary Russell, King has created the the only type of woman I can imagine matching Holmes mind, wit and heart. An entertaining mix of adventure, mystery and romance in perfect balance. All the familiar characters are still present, but some of their roles have changed with time and wait till you hear what Holmes thinks of Sir Conan Doyle "worse than Watson ever was":-) King gives all the pieces and when she brings it together you wonder how you missed them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2009
How ironic that Holmes and Russell return after a nearly a year to their home in Sussex at the same time that they return to us after a 4 year absence. Back at their beginnings, Russell is again the apprentice to Holmes as beekeeper. Missing bees, however, have to take second place, when confronted with the surprise appearance of Damian Adler, Holmes' son.
Holmes must first reflect on this presence and then attend to the problem which brought the two together - the disappearance of Damian's wife, Yolanda with their 4 year old daughter, Estelle.
Disappearing into the night as Holmes frequently does, Mary is left to undertake the bee mystery. Finding a resolution that she feels will satisfy her husband, she heads to London to assist Holmes using her brand of logic (the feminine side).
Throughout her time with Holmes, Mary Russell has observed the strangest human behavior but this case, due to the family relationships involved, has its own kind of madness to observe. Russell employs her own special talents in the area of religious cults while delving into the skeletons in the closet of the missing young woman from Shanghai. The trail she must follow leads her to the Children of the Light and eventually the darkness that she must shatter.
I was disappointed that Russell was still lacking a bit in her self-confidence when she first arrived back, but understand her gradual return to self as the story progressed. I was glad to see that Mycroft had a larger part in this story. I particularly approve of the way Russell's concerns for Holmes' feelings were conveyed throughout. The story after the initial development was fast-paced and kept the reader driving or should I say "flying" to the end.
I regret that we had to wait four years for Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes to return to us. This series never fails to educate, entertain, and excite. I'm glad that the next is scheduled for 2010. As soon as I know the title, it will be on my wishlist.
Posted July 25, 2009
I have read all the books in the series and I hope for more..I especially like the mystery where Holmes and Russell work together. One thing missing is the show of affection between them. This would make it a lot more interesting...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2009
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All of Laurie R. King's books are fantastic, my only complaint is that she doesn't write them fast enough! Her books are written for the intelligent mystery lover and sneaks in many fun references that the well-read reader will enjoy. I prefer reading a series in order, so since The Language of Bees is the 9th Mary Russell I wouldn't read it until you have finished with the others. One of the best mystery series around today, the Mary Russell books are a true treat for mystery lovers and Sherlock Holmes fans!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2009
I adore King's gift with words and flow. The originality of the relationship between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is wonderfully conceived and developed. This book adds a new layer of depth to their dynamic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 10, 2009
Posted July 4, 2009
Posted June 29, 2009
I enjoy Laurie King's novels. This was not her best, but an interesting look at characters she has already developed. I always enjoy a visit with Mary and Sherlocke.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2009
I have read this whole series and have enjoyed them completely! I was a bit bummed about this being a cliff hanger, but I look forward to reading the next book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 13, 2009
Laurie King is an excellent writer and I have always been intrigued by this series. However, I was disappointed by the lack of interaction between Holmes and Russell in this book. Russell spent more time with Mycroft than with Holmes. And the ending was a real yawner. I've encountered that a lot lately, like publishers are pushing writers to produce a certain word count even if the story line has already resolved.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2009
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While "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" will probably always be my favorite novel in this series, I was happy to find that this book went back to the style of the earlier books. The story is exciting and certainly keeps you on your toes, and Laurie King manages to handle one of the classic Sherlock Holmes pastiche ideas without it seeming overdone or cliched. Overall I really enjoyed the book and look forward to re-reading it in the future!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.