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Beekeeping for Beginners (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #10.5)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,556 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
BONUS: This eBook includes an excerpt from Laurie R. King's Pirate King.

In this crackling short story, New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King reveals an unforgettable new twist in the adventure that led supersleuth Sherlock Holmes to discover his first (and finest) apprentice, Mary Russell.

Sherlock Holmes is fending off a particularly dark mood as he roams the Su
ebook, 46 pages
Published July 6th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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Oct 21, 2011 Cynthia rated it liked it
I’ve always loved Doyle’s Holmes stories so I was excited to read King’s “Beekeeping for Beginners”. However, I was bored with this story. The young girl, Mary Russell, seemed insipid and Holmes was too all knowing though I admit he was portrayed that way by Doyle too. The aunt and cousin came across as stock figures of evil. It was obvious from the beginning where the story was heading.

Maybe my problem was that I haven’t read anything else from King’s series. I’m sure having some background wou
Joyce Lagow
Jul 06, 2011 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-edition
Depending on what you read, this work is described as either a short story or an e-novella (about 50 pages long). To me, it’s a little long for a short story and maybe just shy of a novella, e-book or otherwise. Also, it’s important to know that I am not a fan of short stories; with few exceptions I find them unsatisfying--not enough length to develop either a solid plot or satisfactory characters.

In this case, character development is not important--IF you are a fan, as I am, of King’s Mary Rus
❂ Jennifer
Good side story about the conflict between Mary and her Aunt, but it didn't quite jibe with the timeline the author creates in the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. The narrator is excellent, although he sounds far too kind and warm to be Sherlock Holmes and I think that made a difference too.

Full review:
Oct 16, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle

A long short story or a short novella, this offering to fans of the Russell / Holmes series fits takes place in the timeframe of the first novel in the series, The Beekeepers Apprentice. It is essentially in two parts. The first part deals with the meeting of Russell and Holmes from the point of view of Holmes. The second part recounts an episode which occurs later in the timeline of the novel, which Russell could not have known about because the novel is written in the first person, from Russel
Jul 08, 2011 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
To say I was disappointed in this e-novella from King would be an understatement. I actually told my husband that it wasn't worth the $.99 I spent on it (yikes). So. I had three major complaints about it. 1) Holmes' contemplated action in the first chapter was so un-Holmesian (is that a word?), at least in terms of King's version of Holmes, that it made me angry. It felt like a cheap motivation that wasn't in keeping with the character built up through the overall series. 2) The 1st person vs. 3 ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Kribu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think this longish short story (or short novella?), in spite of taking place at the very beginning of the Russell/Holmes partnership, would be a good introduction to the series for new readers - but for those already invested in the series, or at least those who have already read The Beekeeper's Apprentice, it makes an excellent little companion story.

Seeing the already-familiar events unfurl from Holmes' point of view was a real treat; I also enjoyed the added extra, Holmes' little trip
This short account of Sherlock Holmes' and Mary Russell's beginning together reminded me of why I love this series so much. I enjoyed Holmes' perspective of it, as it served to enrich the tale of their strong bonding and give insight to his brilliant thinking. Kudos to Ms. King for this gift.
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 29, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: King super-fans who want to read every scrap of Russell lore
Beekeeping for Beginners is a novella that takes the plot of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, which is told from the point of view of Mary Russell, and relates it once again, this time from the point of view of Sherlock Holmes. The effort proves somewhat disappointing, with nothing really added, and makes me wonder why Laurie R. King bothered. It was OK, but not really worth the bother.

Recommended only for King super-fans who want to read every scrap of Russell lore.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Dec 31, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary Russell Fans
This is a novella in the Mary Russell series, of which there about a dozen books to date. In them King gives Sherlock Holmes a female counterpart and professional and, eventually, romantic partner in the unlikely person of Mary Russell, a Jewish American forty years younger. She sets all these tales after 1914, when the last of the Arthur Conan Doyle originals were penned. This particular story is set in the time frame of the first novel in the series, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I don't know if ...more
Mar 13, 2016 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i absolutely adored this. having read the canon and fallen in love with Conan Doyle's stories, this was such a welcome addition to the mythology of Holmes. i intend on reading Laurie King's Holmes novels now. i think i may have found a new "friend"
This is a quick glimpse at how it all began, when Sherlock Holmes met Mary Russell. On the very day he set out looking for a peaceful place to end it all, he met his future instead.
It's 1915, war is raging & the Lusitania has been sunk by the Germans. Holmes is 54 & after being gently pushed out of the action by the British government, he's licking his wounds at his estate in Sussex. Depression has always been lurking in the shadows & the great detective used his work to keep it at b
Jul 23, 2011 Orion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo-on-palm-pre
This is a short story that takes the reader back to the first meeting of the teenage Mary and the retired Sherlock when both were vulnerable and in need of rescue. The author looks again into the bond that formed in her first novel of the series, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, between such an odd couple united by a peculiar way of logical thinking that usually alienates them from most people. The detective teaches young Mary the secrets of keeping bees as we learn how each owes their life to the ot ...more
Morris Nelms
Jan 01, 2016 Morris Nelms rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie King makes me think I'm reading Conan Doyle more than any other writer (or screen version for that matter) that has taken on the daunting task of creating more Sherlock Holmes stories. In this one, the great detective works behind the scenes to insure Mary Russell comes into her inheritance and adulthood with no problems. It also gives an account of their meeting from Sherlock's perspective. Quick read. Good introduction to King's contribution to the Holmes canon.
Oct 05, 2011 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Great short story for Russell/Holmes fans about Holmes' view of their first meeting as told by Russell in The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Narrator shifts from Holmes to third-person in weird ways, but overall a great short read.
Oct 20, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine has read several of the Mary Russell series, and piqued my interest in them. When I discovered this prequel, I was ready to begin. What a fantastic novella to introduce me to the characters and their quirks, and lay the foundation of the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell.

Mary Russell is quick, smart and the perfect apprentice for Sherlock Holmes. I can see trouble brewing between Mary and Dr. Watson, even through they have not yet met formally. The groundwo
Apr 25, 2016 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with no idea that it was part of a rather extensive series. It was a quick read and kept my attention but ended abruptly. That didn't make any sense to me until I did a little digging and found out that it is book 10.5 of the series. That being said I am looking forward to reading more of this series.
Dec 05, 2014 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recapturing the vibrancy of an early work can sometimes be challenging, but I think this little vignette does it off quite well. It gave us an untold story that fit very nicely into the established timeline of this series. It also gave us a look into the mind of Sherlock Holmes. Truth be told, that was my biggest question before embarking on this read. We know King writes a wonderful and original Russell, but could she capture someone as iconic as Holmes? Part of what makes him so intriguing is ...more
My favorite book in this series remains the first. It is one that I've read multiple times. I was thrilled to read this, and see that first meeting from Holmes's point of view. It was a fun and refreshing look at a story I knew (or thought I knew) so well. I loved it!
Jan 21, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first book I've read in this series and perhaps I'd have done better to read the first one first rather than starting with this novella in the middle of the series. I wanted to like this story: I love Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and while I knew it couldn't be quite the same I hoped for a little bit of Holmes's deductive power to keep me entertained. I also liked the idea of a strong, female character working with him, however we never really get to see much of her abilities in this sort ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Hermien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful novella retelling the start of Mary Russell's apprenticeship to Sherlock Holmes, this time told from the perspective of Sherlock.
Sep 28, 2011 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vbc, mystery
A more vulnerable side of Russell in this short story from Holmes' point of view, taking place right after they met.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Just a short story, but a fun little read for fans of the series.
Katie Brock
I can't give it a lower rating than this because I love Sherlock Holmes okay?

I enjoyed the Beekeepers Apprentice and this is an extract from the novel told from Holmes' perspective, although the bit where it jumped from first person to third person and back again was a little confusing. Did King forget half way through or....?

I also didn't quite understand the twitter conversation at the end either. ...It had nothing to do with the story. (unless BKFB is included in the mentioned anthology....
Kirsty Darbyshire
This is an ebook only, billed as a novella, and released as some kind of trailer for the upcoming book in the Mary Russell series: The Pirate King. Whilst I'm looking forward to the new full length book, with a little trepidation since I believe it's going to be a lighthearted farcical kind of a story, this ebook didn't really fill the gap for me. I just don't like short stories that much on the whole - by the time I've got the hang of them they are finished.

I think it's worth putting a note in
I do enjoy alternate angle on scenes. I like it when that sort of thing shows up as a special feature on a DVD, and it's even more fun – and I imagine much easier to accomplish – when it's a new point of view on a book. It's a hallmark of fan-fiction to take a well-known story and spin it around (and I just saw something about a book from Jacob Marley's POV). Beekeeping for Beginners is a short story-slash-novella which does just that for the beginning of Beekeeper's Apprentice. Why exactly was ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Mandolin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story is a nice addition to the growing Holmes / Russell library and a refreshing return to the best aspect of the novels: the relationship between Mary and Sherlock, which is sadly lacking in the newest book (Pirate King.) Though the tale of their meeting was told from Mary's perspective in the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, King returns to the event and tells it again from Sherlock's point of view. We meet the detective as he contemplates the life of his hives and his own p ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Dora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At that time of reading Beekeeping for Beginners I have been a fan of Laurie R. King, Mary Russell, and – above all – of Sherlock Holmes for some years. The specialty of this short story is that it is told from Holmes’s point of view. (My personal opinion is that alternating point of views would do good the other Russell-novels, too.)
The first part of the story is the re-telling their first meeting, how Holmes has seen it. His melancholy, or rather his depression is more pronounced here then it
Dec 29, 2011 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Kate
I read this short story out of sequence, after I'd read #5, not after #1 or #10. I relish the whole idea of alternate points of view, though, so I was excited when I heard about Beekeeping for Beginners. It took me a while to acquire it, though, since it's in e-book format only, but eventually found a way to get to it.

In general, I liked the premise: all the bits that Holmes understands about Russell's situation at home since she's still untrained. He's able to chalk a lot of his actions in the
Aug 31, 2011 Dorothy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherlockians
In The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie King gave us Mary Russell's memoir of her first meeting with Sherlock Holmes. In this short-story/novelette, we hear from the great Sherlock on the same subject.

We meet Sherlock here after he has retired to Sussex and is dying of boredom. Literally. He sees nothing but years of boredom stretching out before him and does not care to endure such an existence. He thinks it may be time to end it all.

But as he contemplates the end, he is practically trod upon by
Mrs. Hassig
Jan 23, 2016 Mrs. Hassig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm in love with Sherlock Holmes and totally jealous of Mary Russell his wife! Anything written by Laurie King is outstanding! She has 2 new Mary Russell books coming out and I can't wait to read them. Although one is entitled "The Death of Mary Russell" so I'm fearful my days of reading about Sherlock's fictional wife are coming to an end. Unless there is such an uproar that King has to re-write her back into existence! Sound familiar!
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Edgar-winning mystery writer Laurie R. King writes series and standalone novels. Her official forum is
THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads--please join us for book-discussing fun.

King's most recent novel, Dreaming Spies, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from Japan to Oxford, in a case with international players and personal meaning. The Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series foll
More about Laurie R. King...

Other Books in the Series

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2)
  • A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3)
  • The Moor (Mary Russell, #4)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5)
  • Justice Hall (Mary Russell, #6)
  • The Game (Mary Russell, #7)
  • Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)
  • The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)
  • The God of the Hive (Mary Russell, #10)

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