The Beekeeper’s apprentice by Laurie R. King - Report

apprentice beekeeper

The book was presented by Sealia Thévenau 

The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen is the first book in the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King. It was nominated for the Agatha best novel award and was deemed a Notable Young Adult book by the American Library Association. It was also listed as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. 

In this novel, King presents the first meeting between fifteen-year-old Mary Russell, the young Jewish-American protagonist, and Sherlock Holmes. Their meeting leads to a collaboration between the two, though this first novel focuses primarily on the detective training that Holmes gives to Russell. The series that this novel begins currently stands at twenty novels, with the latest having been published in 2021.

Author Bio (as stated on her website): 

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories, beginning with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (named “One of the 20th Century’s Best Crime Novels” by the IMBA.)  She has won the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Lambda, Wolfe, Macavity, Creasey dagger, and Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, has an honorary doctorate in theology, and has been guest of honor at several mystery conventions.  And yes, she is a Baker Street Irregular. 

She is the third generation in her family native to the San Francisco area. She spent her childhood reading her way through libraries up and down the West Coast; her middle years raising children, renovating houses, traveling the world, and doing a BA and MA in theology. King now lives a genteel life of crime, on California’s central coast.

Her crime novels are both serial (as in the case of the Russell-Holmes stories) and stand-alone.

Book group discussion: 

Group members agreed that it was a light and easy read. Not everyone liked the book, but overall, it was well received. Many group members really enjoyed the characterizations and descriptions which they found to create a vivid image in their mind’s eye (either of characters or places).  Much appreciated was the fact that it gave a new perspective on Sherlock Holmes. Additionally, a strong development of the trust building events that created and solidified the relationship between the protagonist, young Mary Russell, and a middle-aged Sherlock Holmes.