The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or, On the Segregation of the Queen

The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Or, On the Segregation of the Queen

Book - 1994
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Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, c1994
ISBN: 9780312427368
Call Number: M KING LAU
Characteristics: xvii, 347 p. ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Our December 2019 selection

Holmes is retired when a gawky American teen seeks him out for what will turn out to be just the first of many adventures the two share. (Available in several formats).

From the critics

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Jun 19, 2020

This novella describes the initial meeting of the 15 year-old Mary with Sherlock Holmes. He sees her potential as a detective and protects her from an attempt on her life. The only puzzling aspect of this story is the mention of suicide for Mary and / or Holmes... Fun to learn the history of their relationship leading to the series. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 25, 2020

S.H. :Beekeeper's Apprentice and the rest of the series, by Laurie King (Sherlock Holmes fans, you will love this! This is the continuing story of when Sherlock retires to the English countryside and meets a teenage girl who is a child prodigy, and he becomes her mentor. This is a mystery series for people who like to think; King's attention to detail and knowledge of history, geography, and world politics is incredible, and you will probably wish you could be a prodigy, too, after meeting Mary Russell, the main character.)

IndyPL_SherryU Aug 30, 2019

While I am not a big Sherlock Holmes fan, I enjoyed this book (and subsequently the rest of the series) very much. The character of Mary Russell is delightful, giving as good as she gets and not taking anything from anybody, not even the great Sherlock Holmes. Great fun!

Aug 20, 2019

Very slow beginning, and I nearly gave up on completing it. I've read a later one in the series which was more satisfying.

Oct 01, 2018

Having read most of the books in this series, but not in order, I've decided to go back to the beginning. It's a treat. Even within this book, it's fun to watch the development in the relationship between the retired detective and the intellectual teenager. She begins by solving a puzzle involving painted dots on bees. By the end of the book, Holmes has taken Mary Russell on as his student and is teaching her the art of detection. Their first case seems simple and straightforward. By the end of the book they find themselves in enough of a pickle that leaving England for a while seems wise. As with their previous case, they go in disguise, something Holmes is very good at, and mentors Russell in that as well. A very satisfying beginning to the series. I confess I've never read the original Sherlock Holmes. Sometime I really should! I've read several other authors' attempts to carry on with the life of Holmes, and none seem as real as this one.

Jun 23, 2018

Worth rereading! As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I hesitated to go into this, but I think it stays relatively true to the spirit of the character.

Apr 06, 2018

Enjoyed the combination of short story mysteries within the framework of a developing relationship between an older, more mature, Sherlock Holmes with a young woman finding herself and her voice during the World War I years.

Mar 30, 2018

A very enjoyable book-will look for the prequel! Obviously I know about Sherlock and Watson but had never read one of the books. I like the way mysteries are unraveled and appreciate the due that Holmes gives to a female apprentice (most likely not real in the time period but appreciated nonetheless!) Kudos to the author!!!

Mar 25, 2018

Delightful! And fun to read Sherlock's improved "tolerance" for a woman (other than Irene Adler, of course). Great twists and turns in the story. Can't wait for the next one in the series!

Oct 26, 2017

The reason why I gave this book a "good" rating is the obviously great amount of work and research that the author has done. There is a clear attempt to re-create a true "Sherlock Holmes" atmosphere and the addition of a woman sleuth is certainly welcome - at least for me. I have always thought that Conan Doyle's story - although intriguing and captivating - were a bit, well, patriarchal. There didn't seem to be much room for intelligent women in Baker Street, but this is just my opinion. "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" introduces a pleasant, funny character in Mary Russell and the bantering between her and Holmes is certainly entertaining. All this said, however, I found some parts of the story a bit strained. First of all, that fact that Mary is only 15. She is an independent minded young woman, true, but I really doubt that a Victorian teenager would have been able to spend all that time alone with an older man without any scandal or at least concern. However, we are required to suspend our disbelief, right? Then, overall, I didn't really have the impression that Mary (or Holmes, for that matter) were the great brilliant minds that we (or at least I) expected them to be. Sometimes, they both sounded rather obvious. However, the book was entertaining, well-structured, well-researched and I like the idea of a feminine perspective, so I certainly recommend it.

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May 29, 2014

MADKC4Ever thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 07, 2013

turbo12 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 15, 2012

kitten97 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 09, 2011

Tanith thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Jun 15, 2015

This is the story of Sherlock Holmes as an older man working with a new partner. Unlike Watson, Mary Russell matches Holmes in wits and intelligence, but is anxious to learn from his experience. They become closer and more reliant on each other as they face a truly formidable foe.

Sep 06, 2014

Mary Russell is a sassy, smart American teenager who has been recently orphaned and is living in Sussex with her aunt. One day, while wandering the downs with her nose stuck in a book, she trips over the great (retired) Sherlock Holmes as he studies bees. Thus begins a beautiful apprenticeship and friendship, punctuated with witty banter, perilous situations, and beloved characters. As Russell ages and begins her career at Oxford, their unique relationship and combined skills must rise to the challenge of a new, unknown danger, one which is targeting the detectives directly.

Shelleybean1 Aug 16, 2011

In this first novel of the series, Mary Russell, a teenaged orphan, meets Sherlock Holmes. A unique partnership follows where Holmes tutors Russell in the art of detection. While she initially only aids in his investigations, she becomes a full partner by the end. This is a superb read and a fantastic series. Laurie King does an excellent job with the time period and creates some of the best characters I've yet read.


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May 29, 2014

This self-contained individual, this man who had rarely allowed even his sturdy, ex-Ary companion Watson to confront real risk, who had habitually over the past four years held back, been cautious, kept an eye out, and otherwise protected me; this man who was a Victorian gentleman down to his boots; this man was now proposing to place not only his life and limb into my untested, inexperienced, and above all female hands, but my own life as well.


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