Friday, December 5, 2014
The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Good, but ...
I just finished The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie King. I was attracted by the title, given my current interest in bees. And it's a YA book on a number of recommended lists, so it's something my students might read. Then I discovered it was a mystery, and it involved Sherlock Holmes, and I knew I had to read it.
The premise is that a 15-year-old orphan by the name of Mary Russell has moved on to a farm in Sussex where she meets her beekeeping neighbor, who it turns out is the semi-retired Sherlock Holmes. But in addition to his beekeeping, he writes criminology studies, conducts experiments, and apparently still does some occasional detective work.
Holmes finds the brilliant Mary to be in some ways a female counterpart to himself - and he begins to teach her his detecting knowledge and skills. Hence, his apprentice.
There's much to recommend it. The characters are interesting. Many of the Sherlockian favorite secondary characters show up in one form or another. There are some mysteries to solve.
I was enjoying it, but ... it seems to go on too long. The earlier half of the book was by far the most interesting. And I figured out who was behind the crimes long before the end - and even the hidden identity of that person. So the ending seemed anti-climactic. I read the last few chapters in part just to finish reading the book.
Plus, the ending suggested the future directions for the series (this is the first novel in that series) and the characters. I checked; my fears were confirmed about what was going to happen..
Bottom line: Worth a read, but it left me with no desire to read more in the series.
Pax et bonum