Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King

Sherlock Holmes lives and breathes again - on film, television and in books. American author Laurie R King has been beavering away with Holmes for years, having written twelve novels about this formidable investigator, taking up where Conan Doyle left off, and bringing him a new series of cases and a new companion.

Mary Russell makes her first appearance in The Beekeeper's Apprentice just as the rumblings of World War One are being felt. Living with an aunt she doesn't like much, this precocious teenager stumbles upon Holmes while out for a walk. Both have been mouldering in the countryside and Holmes in retirement has little to distract his active brain. Striking up a conversation with Russell, both soon discover they have similar powers of deduction and repair for tea courtesy of Mrs Hudson.

By the end of the novel, the two have formed a crime-solving partnership, with cases as varied as a missing ham from a nearby hostelry to the kidnap of a senator's daughter. Shaken out of retirement, Holmes is soon back on form as a master of disguises, with a laboratory at his disposal and even secret hideouts.

King does a very good job at creating an authentic Holmesian style and the old characters of Dr Watson, Mrs Hudson and Mycroft Holmes make frequent appearances, all seen through the sharp eyes of Mary Russell. It's plenty of fun, and the promise of so many books in the series will lighten the heart of anyone who has recently rediscovered the joys of Sherlock Holmes.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: The Beekeeper's Apprentice

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