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Beekeeping for Beginners (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  2,862 Ratings  ·  265 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
Kindle Edition, 68 pages
Published July 6th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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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
Jul 05, 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
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
Aug 08, 2013 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
❂ 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:
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.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Dec 30, 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
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 29, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it liked it
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.
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
Aug 07, 2015 Morris Nelms rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Jul 18, 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.
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!
Mar 12, 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"
Feb 10, 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.
May 10, 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.
Feb 03, 2017 G K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to G by: was one of my book club's monthly selections.
Meh. This was my first book by this author. I was not impressed with the writing; the book read more like a YA novel to me. The premise of the book, a 'what-if' setting in which Sherlock Holmes lives longer than he actually did and takes on an upstart young apprentice, seemed so improbable to me. Each step of the mystery, which Holmes and his young girl apprentice solve (of course), was so predictable. In every scene one could actually keep tabs of which item would most definitely have some grea ...more
Oct 24, 2016 Curtis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed in The Bee Keeper's Apprentice. While I like that the author made the female protagonist Holmes' intellectual equal (no spoiler here, she declares it very early), there was no build up to it, no real character development, and felt self-indulgent. The end I found to be really convoluted and formulaic, and the antagonist was quite disappointing. The prose was good, and I did find enough interest to keep reading, but overall - a bit let down.
Enjoyed the character development but felt a little bored with the actual mystery itself. The climax felt typical bad guy speech to get the info to the reader and have the book be over. I am curious if the following books in the series are more exciting and if the romance(?) grows between them. I may try the next book and see if it grabs me:)
Doc Kinne
A small novella that thought to retell at least part of the story in "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" from Holmes point of view. I think it concentrated on the 1st couple of months of the story only, but in doing that does gives some interesting insights on Holmes' relationship to Mary, and a bit more about Mary's family.

Good, but not quite what I expected.
Grace Grant
I'm not usually a mystery fan, but someone passed this along to me and I LOVED it! I am hooked! I love the new take on an old classic. Great dialogue, great character development and interaction. There is nothing I don't like about this book!
Feb 09, 2017 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this beautiful interlude...beginning of their was perfect to have come 10 books in and knowing the characters...absolutely delightful
Beth E
Jan 09, 2017 Beth E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this more than some of the longer books in the series.
Andrea Mullarkey
Dec 22, 2016 Andrea Mullarkey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, galley, stories
It's true...I ran out of reading material while out of town and turned to my Kindle which has literally years of stuff on it. I picked this from among the many choices because I had recently completed a few seasons of BBC1's Sherlock which was my introduction to the universe of Sherlock Holmes. (Well, if you don't count reading The Sherlockian a few years back anyway, which it turns out most people don't.) I know very little about Sherlock Holmes and had never heard of Mary Russell before but th ...more
Dec 28, 2016 Gmjohnson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit
I quit reading this because I had read it already a long time ago.
It's well done for what it is. But inane really.
Well, I'm not in the mood for silly mysteries.
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
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
Rhonda Pickens
Oct 27, 2016 Rhonda Pickens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this series. They are so much more than simply mysteries. The settings, the sense of time and place, are incredible. The way the author weaves in real people and events is not only interesting but also informative and endlessly encourage me to pop over to Wikipedia to follow up on an interesting tidbit, whether to see a Celtic triskelion or land giants and standing stones within the British landscape or the history and geography of North Africa and the Levant or the particulars ...more
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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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