Reading Log: The Beekeeper's Apprentice
I did enjoy reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King, even though I thought I might not. I'm one of those readers who likes my characters to stay with their original authors--I don't even like watching Sherlock Holmes stories that don't star Jeremy Brett, let alone reading a novel about Holmes by an author other than Conan Doyle. King's novel operates on the premise that even after Sherlock Holmes officially retired, he still remained moderately active in crime solving. His apprentice, in this case, is the 15 year old Mary Russell. Unlike Watson, Russell's mind can actively keep up with Holmes's, so they begin a friendship that leads to a partnership in detective work.
The first quarter to half of the book reads more like a series of short stories than a complete novel, as Russell describes the small adventures she and Holmes have. The novel begins to pull together as a whole in the larger case she describes, one that tests both of their wits and nearly defeats them.
King does an admirable job of resurrecting Holmes. Just as with the original stories, her detective relies on clues that only he knows about--types of clay soil, brands of cigarette ash and the precise location that brand may be sold, etc. With Russell as a narrator, though, the reader doesn't feel quite as off-guard, as she herself goes through several learning moments, or explains things that we otherwise wouldn't have known.
I don't see myself actively seeking out the subsequent novels in this series, but I do think they are worth reading.