Thursday, July 29, 2010

Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice

This is a charming book. Mary Russell, as a young, sharp witted, smart 15 year old girl stumbles, (actually trips over), a retired Sherlock Homes while he is studying a hive of bees. She sits down, and makes a simple comment about the dots Homes has painted on the backs of some of the bees, and a friendship is begun. Things quickly progress and, unbeknownst to Russell at first, she becomes his apprentice and is taught everything from telling the difference in soil samples to reading foot prints for weight, gender and height. (She would put any CSI computer to shame.). The first part of the story follows her life, thoughts and the relationship with Homes, but like any good Sherlock Homes story, eventually there is something afoot and a case must be solved. As Mary figures out how the game goes, and Homes adjust to having a partner, the danger lurks around the corner with bombs, disguise and a very vulpine antagonist. However, it really is quite a bit more than a typical Sherlock Homes story, it is a story about a girl growing up and coming to herself. Trusting herself and even putting herself through, and suffering heartbreak, to do what she has to do. Homes is also very different than the truculent detective we now see in the movies. He is personable, and worthy of Russell's respect. We see a caring side and the motivation of why he does what he does. I enjoyed reading the story from a different perspective.

I also found it more of a challenge to read as it wasn't the "fast read" I'm used to. It did require a bit of patience. And I learned a bit of vocabulary with it...

Some of my favorites:

verisimilitude - realism, quality of appearing to be true.

reticent - inclined to keep ones thoughts and feelings to oneself.

obfuscate - to make so confused as to be difficult to perceive or understand. To perplex. (I.E - Law forms are obfuscating.)

The Beekeepers Apprentice

Currently reading - The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes


seana said...

I guess I missed this post when it first came up. I'm glad you liked it! I think I'm not a true afficianado, as I haven't devoured the entire Mary Russell series, as many have, but they are certainly on my long list.

I'll be interested to know what you think of Declan Hughes...

seana said...

Oh--I forgot to say that that is an excellent review.

Glenna said...

Thanks Seana. I don't see devouring them, but I've the next one on the shelf for when the mood strikes.

I think I'm going to like Hughes, although some of the Irish slang is taking some thinking about.