Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

It's rather strange to be coming to the end of yet another reading year. It hardly seems five minutes since it started! Hopefully I'll squeeze in one, possibly even two, more books before the new year starts but, whatever, it's nice to finish the year on a high with some really fun reading.

I feel like I want to really gush about this book. Several people, including deslily, recommended Laurie R. King's 'Mary Russell' series and being a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan I had a feeling I would probably like them. Like? Make that 'love'! I adored this first one, The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Mary Russell is fifteen and lives in Sussex with her despicable aunt. One day while out walking she stumbles across (literally) a retired Sherlock Holmes watching bees. Recognising another with a similar mind to his own the two strike up a friendship and Mary eventually becomes a kind of apprentice in the crime solving business. It's while Mary is at university that a diplomat's daughter is kidnapped. Holmes and Russell work together on the case and bring it to a conclusion. But have they? And who is trying to kill them, and why?

It was sort of weird at first to be reading a Sherlock Holmes book that was a)by an author other than Conan Doyle and b)not narrated by Watson! It's not quite the same, but then you wouldn't expect it to be and I personally was quite happy with the change in style, though perhaps not every dedicated Holmes fan would be. Depends on your preference really. I liked the portrayal of Holmes and found his friendship with Mary quite believable. It was nice in fact to see him as a human being with feelings and emotions and the ability to become attached to someone. I already know how the relationship changes and can't wait to read about how it happens. The crime element of the novel was also excellent; I tried to guess who was behind it all and got it quite wrong. The author does a great job of building to a climax and you fair gallop along with her to the end. Honestly, I can't recommend this book highly enough and am so pleased that there are many more in the series to read. Book two, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, is already on my tbr pile and will be one of my first reads for 2008.


DesLily said...

Hooray! I am glad you liked the book!!! Laurie R King is really a terrific writer! Whew, I feel relieved now haha.. I always worry that if someone chooses a book I say is really good that they won't like it! I'm happy this is not the case! (a pun? hmmm) I believe you will like all of her books on Mary Russell..she's got Holmes down to a T and I love that she's created a "female Holmes!

Cath said...

I don't think there was ever any real worry that I wouldn't like these books, Pat. Somehow I just knew I would like them. I know what you mean though, I have recommended books to people and had them hate them and felt really bad about that. Sometimes I'm a bit too enthusiastic for my own good.