The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (by Laurie R. King: Fiction) c. 1994

Summary: Retired to the country, Sherlock Holmes encounters a mind that, with the right training, could be his equal in deduction and perception. The trouble for the quintessentially smug and misogynistic Victorian gentleman Holmes is that the mind in question belongs to a woman, the teenaged Mary Russell. The joy of finding an equal, however, pushes him past his doubts and Mary is soon caught up in Holmes intermittent pursuit of the ‘Great Game’, with dire consequences that neither can foresee.

Review: Many an author has tried to capture the lightning in a bottle that is the Great Detective, and the result is generally poor. King’s series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, of which this title is the first, get Holmes‘ unique style of ¬†sleuthing right. Purists will likely quibble at the liberties taken with the Holmes cannon and his personality, but those willing to accept the author’s premise of the same subject painted from a different angle and with a new brush are in for a treat.

Read-a-likes: Those looking for other Holmes homages should take a look at the books of Donald Thomas, The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr and the recently released (and authorized by the Holmes estate) The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. The Baker Street Letters books by Michael Robertson and the Holmes on the Range stories by Steve Hockensmith are worth a look as well, though they feature the Great Detective’s techniques and stories rather than the man himself.

Availability: The Lake Bluff Public Library owns this item as a book. Click here to check on the availability!

Review by Eric.


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