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The “Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or on the Segregation of the Queen” by Laurie King

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beekeepers-apprenticeThe Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series, of which the “Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or on the Segregation of the Queen” (M King.L Beek) is the first, is a series I return to again and again.

The premise of the series is that Sherlock Holmes was actually quite young in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. (Indeed, if you read the original stories closely, you can see that Doyle doesn’t actually say that Holmes is middle-aged.) Because of this, Holmes is only in his 50s in the 1920s when he meets Mary Russell, a teenager with a formidable intellect. Holmes is in semi-retirement and so bored that he undertakes to train her in his own unique craft: the art of detecting.

The stories (there are 13 books in the series currently) are all exceptionally well told and thick with period detail. Moreover, the addition of Mary Russell to the series adds a lighter touch to Doyle’s stories. Although she is as brilliant as Holmes, she also has better social skills, so we find ourselves laughing at the trials of a “normal” person interacting with the brilliant Holmes. Laurie King is also fabulous at describing surroundings so that you feel, with each book, that you are actually there riding along with these great characters.

So, if you have some time, give Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes a try!