The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first of the mysteries featuring Mary Russell and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

The first time Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes meet, she is fifteen and he is fifty-four, retired in a cottage in Sussex, where he keeps bees. Very soon, Holmes realizes that he and Russell are kindred spirits. She shares his curiosity and his gift for observation and deduction. When he invites her to visit him often, she accepts readily, because she admires his great mind and also because she likes to spend time away from her mean aunt, who raises her since the death of her entire family.

Soon Mary becomes Holmes’s apprentice. He teaches her detective skills and shares his experiments. Before she reaches eighteen, she goes to Oxford to study theology, but most of her vacation time is spent with Holmes. One day, he decides that she is ready to work with him on his investigations. From apprentice she becomes partner. Their investigations range from two stolen hams to the kidnapping of a senator’s daughter. Until one day, someone tries to kill them, leading Russell and Holmes begin the most challenging investigation of their partnership…3/5

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice presents an interesting perspective on Sherlock Holmes, and Laurie R. King justifies the liberties taken from the original by accusing Watson’s accounts of being “romanticized”… Apparently, Laurie R. King knows her Holmes and has made his relationship with feminist Jewish scholar Mary Russell very interesting. Unfortunately, as a mystery, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is average and doesn’t live up to Conan Doyle’s standards. Holmes almost doesn’t display many of his famous skills, and the mysteries are far from being as complex and challenging as the originals.

Yet I might read A Monstrous Regiment of Women soon because I would like to know how the relationship between Holmes and Russell will evolve…

Rating: 3/5