Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice

One of the best things about being part of a book club is that I get to read genres that I wouldn't usually read. We are a diverse group in terms of our preferred genres; and in order to give everyone an opportunity to read from "their" genre, we have a yearly meeting in which we pick our upcoming reading year. We each come to book club with three books we'd like to read, and we explain our books. From there, we vote on one book from each person's list, so we end up with 10 books for the next year. We've been doing this for two years, and I've really enjoyed stepping outside my reading zone. But at the same time, this has reaffirmed my love for my usual reading zone!

All that to say, Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice is a mystery—not my usual genre—and I loved it. I didn't love it so much that I'll rush out and read any others in the series, but it was refreshing, fun, engaging and quite well written. This novel introduces Mary Russell, a brilliant teenager who is soon to become the apprentice of none other than Sherlock Holmes. I am not a Sherlock Holmes aficionado, and I'm sure this book would be even more meaningful to those who are, but I loved the concept of fiction taking place inside another fictional world.

When I was a teenager, I read through nearly all of Agatha Christie's mysteries in one summer, and this novel reminded me of those wonderful days when I had nothing else to do but bask in the sun (ignorant of the harmful UV rays) and read, breaking occasionally for a dip in the lake. My reading is done now in 30-minute chunks at most before I go to sleep each night. This novel, however, did absolutely hold my attention.

And I take it back. I just might read through all the Mary Russell books. There is something intensely comforting about a solid, clean, well written mystery.


hopeinbrazil said...

I, too, am new to the mystery genre, but I'm really enjoying it so far. Thanks for reviewing this book.

Marbel said...

I read this book not too long ago, and am now on book 4 of the series...

Actually I had tried to read it once, discarded it, and then about a year later picked it up again for some reason I can't explain, and enjoyed it immensely. Mysteries are not my genre either.

I have read some, but not a lot of, Sherlock Holmes. I disliked the man so much I couldn't read more than a few. He seems different here. I am not sure a true Holmes aficionado would enjoy these. But, I do!