Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Die Gehilfin des Bienenzüchters” as Want to Read:
Die Gehilfin des Bienenzüchters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Die Gehilfin des Bienenzüchters (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #1)

by
4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  48,692 Ratings  ·  4,470 Reviews
Edgar Award-winning author Laurie R. King again proves her flair for tantalizing mystery in this first novel of an acclaimed series. Long since retired from his observations of criminal humanity, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. Never did he expect to meet an intellect to match his own - - until he made the acquainta ...more
Paperback, 415 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Rowohlt Tb. (first published January 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Die Gehilfin des Bienenzüchters, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Amber It's structured very differently from the average Sherlock Holmes tribute. Mary Russell kind of fills in for the retired Watson, although she is in no…moreIt's structured very differently from the average Sherlock Holmes tribute. Mary Russell kind of fills in for the retired Watson, although she is in no way his replacement, and more like a third Holmes family member. There are several references to the original Holmes canon and it's rather more intense than the original stories, at least in my opinion.
Hope this helps! (less)
Jane Each CAN stand alone, but each really builds on the previous book, so it's much more satisfying to read in order. Backstory and insider references…moreEach CAN stand alone, but each really builds on the previous book, so it's much more satisfying to read in order. Backstory and insider references mean something when you read in order. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Alexandra
It might have been a matter of timing, or the way I experience the Sherlock Holmes canon, it might even be all Jeremy Brett’s fault. Or even Hugh Laurie’s. The fact is: I didn't really like The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

The three main reasons:

Mary
It’s been a long time since I come across such a Mary Sue. Her gifts just keep piling up at an incredible speed from the first moment we (and Holmes) meet her. I got the feeling that King simply chose a favorite literary crush and then projected her wish-f
...more
Trin
Sherlock Holmes pastiche/continuation/fanfic in which Holmes, retired to beekeeping in Sussex, is so impressed by the intelligence of 15-year-old feminist Mary 'Sue' Russell that he decides to take her on as his apprentice-detective. Wacky adventures ensue.

Okay. There were some good things about this book. King's prose is enjoyable enough, and her dialogue is suitably witty. The narrative is rather too episodic for my taste, but there are some nice atmospheric touches. And I like the idea of Hol
...more
Felicia
Sep 18, 2012 Felicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend Veronica Belmont recommended this book and after I watched the first episode of season 2 of the BBC Sherlock (OMG IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS!) I got fixated on Holmes and needed this book.

IT"S SO GOOD! What a great reinterpretation of Holmes and his young apprentice, who grows to become his equal. The partnership that is formed between the two of them is so organic and believable, and Mary Russell is a whip-smart protagonist that I rooted for on every page. It's definitely not a romance bo
...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. I went through a lot of turmoil both in deciding to read this book and then while I was reading it. The Pre-read turmoil stems from the fact that while I have always liked the “idea” of the character of Sherlock Holmes, I have not always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories that I have read. They have been a bit dry for my taste. However, I LOVED The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which took the character of Sherlock Holmes and put him in bizarre and unique surroundings (i.e ...more
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party"
Mary Russell, also known as The Beekeeper's Apprentice, proves to be a wonderful addition to the Sherlock Holmes mythos!

When 15-year-old Mary Russell almost tripped over the peculiar man while he was obsessively studying his bees, she never imagined such an accidental (and clumsy) encounter would change her life forever! But as it turns out, that man was semi-retired detective Sherlock Holmes, and when the precocious Mary is able to match wits with him (both with her deductive reasoning and her
...more
Phrynne
This was an easy read, nicely written with some interesting characters but a couple of problems for me. Firstly I was uncomfortable with Mary only being fifteen. She is a very mature fifteen but it seemed far fetched that she could have had the freedom to do as she does in this story. Secondly I struggled with her relationship with Holmes. The author tried to explain it as father/daughter, partner, associate, friend and towards the end (when she has aged a little) more than just a friend. None o ...more
Tim The Enchanter
Posted at The Literary Lawyer.ca

A Sweeping and Enchanting Tale - 4.5 Stars

In the past couple of years I have firmly decided that I love a great character driven novel. The Beekeeper's Apprentice fits that bill. It takes a tried and true character in Sherlock Holmes and adds a spunky young feminist into the mix. The result is an excellent novel with nuanced and complex characters. If you like your mysteries to be character driven, this one may be right up your alley.

Plot summary

The stor
...more
Kaora
Oct 29, 2014 Kaora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When faced with the unthinkable, one chooses the merely impossible.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice follows Mary Rusell, who meets the great Sherlock Holmes when she trips over him. This book follows their blossoming relationship, starting with their very first cases, moving on to one of the most clever villains ever faced.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice a queen in order to save the game.

I should start this off by saying I have not read the original Sherlock Holmes books.

With that said I found the re
...more
Kim
Aug 18, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle
Since joining Goodreads I've discovered a taste for all sorts of books which I would have ignored only a year ago. Some books which I've read over the past few months have simply not come my way before. Others I have made a conscious decision at some point in the past not to read, but have changed my mind about, encouraged by positive reviews or a desire to participate in a group read.

This book falls into the second category. Years ago I read and enjoyed King's Kate Martinelli series (although
...more
Werner
Aug 21, 2008 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, esp. Sherlock Holmes fans
One of the weaknesses of the original Sherlock Holmes canon is that Doyle doesn't offer much in the way of female characters. The only woman Holmes genuinely admired, Irene Adler, appears only in "A Scandal in Bohemia;" Watson married at the end of The Sign of Four, but his wife's presence doesn't bulk very large in the novels and stories (half the time, Doyle apparently didn't remember whether Watson was supposed to be married or not, just as he couldn't remember if the doctor's war wound was i ...more
Bonnie
Nov 14, 2015 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherlock-Lovers
Recommended to Bonnie by: Maja
4.5 stars

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

If you’re in any way a fan of Sherlock Holmes, this book/series is a must read for you. I’m new to the world of Sherlock Holmes but I immediately loved him following his first book A Study in Scarlet and I desperately wanted to read more stories about him.

Sherlock Holmes is now a retired beekeeper residing in Sussex Downs. Despite the fact that he is retired, his mind is still just as sharp and he still assists the police in solving local
...more
BrokenTune
Apr 24, 2016 BrokenTune rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Ok, I got to page 60 and am calling it quits.

The Watson bashing is already in full swing.
There is a scene that was basically copied out of Pride and Prejudice.
This is all wrong and too disturbing.

I'm sorry, I am just not compatible with pastiche when it concerns my favourite characters.
Hannah
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

It takes guts to mess with a canon as sacred to fans as the Holmesian one. It takes skill (and a healthy dose of respect) to do it well. Author Laurie King shows off all of these traits in abundance in her debut novel featuring famed and beloved master detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick John Watson Mary Russell. Yep, you heard me, Mary Russell: half American, half Jewish, 15 years old at the beginning of the story, and 100% Holmes' equal in spirit and intel
...more
Aileen Frost
Feb 03, 2012 Aileen Frost rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Let me begin by saying that I am a huge fan of mystery novels. I especially love the character of Sherlock Holmes, so I was very excited when I picked up The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I really wanted to like this book, and hoped that it would propel me into a new and exciting mystery series.

How wrong I was.

First of all, Mary Russell, the narrator, may as well have been named Mary Sue Russell. This book is nothing but a fanfic that was lucky enough to be published because the main characters are ou
...more
Jessica
Apr 25, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Peggy
A witty, big-hearted book narrated by Sherlock Holmes's teenage apprentice-cum-partner, Mary Russell. It was a delight to be party to Russell and Holmes's verbal parrying and dry humor. Mary Russell is a heroine that would be hard not to love, with her unapologetic independence and rampant bookwormery.

The dialogue from both main characters is delicious. I love passages like this, after Mary asks Holmes if her presence is inconvenient (they do make an odd pair):

"To my considerable surprise, Russe
...more
Eve
Mar 04, 2014 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
I was living my carefree, ignorant life until I decided to visit my best friend last November in Kansas. What do best friends do when they get together? We hunker down with slouchy pants, greasy processed foods, and keep that Netflix streaming, sugar!

I introduced her to Flowers in the Attic and other awful films, and on one cold Wednesday, she started me on Sherlock. Sometimes I don’t know whether I was better off before, when I didn’t have to wait for the next year to roll around for a new seas
...more
Alice
Dec 26, 2007 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series (of which this book is the first) follows the exploits of a young woman called Mary Russell living in the earlier half of the twentieth century.

This books begins in 1915. Mary is an orphan living with her aunt, whom she doesn't get along with, in the English countryside. One day while wandering the Sussex Downs reading Virgil, she nearly steps on a man lying on the ground observing bees. His name is Sherlock Holmes.

King handles the inclusion of Holmes well, she even states that thi
...more
Vanessa
“I became, in other words, more like Holmes than the man himself: brilliant, driven to a point of obsession, careless of myself, mindless of others, but without the passion and the deep-down, inbred love for the good in humanity that was the basis of his entire career. He loved the humanity that could not understand or fully accept him; I, in the midst of the same human race, became a thinking machine.”

While in the medias the only version I'll every be loyal to is BBC Sherlock, in the literary
...more
Ashley
I had so much fun reading this, and it was much better than I thought it was going to be. It totally charmed me.

It’s a good thing Laurie King is such a good writer, and is so good at creating atmosphere and characters you can love, because she was in real danger of stepping in that quicksand trap some writers get stuck and die in, where they take something truly beloved and either try to insert themselves, or completely mangle the original thing that is loved.

In this case, of course, that thing
...more
Eloise
Mar 25, 2014 Eloise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads, probs-not, dnf
Awful. Terrible. I hate saying that because this came highly recommended by a few people...but it's true.

First off, I did not finish this. It was a struggle to make it through to the third chapter, which is where I finally threw it down and yelled some bad words.

The author's note at the beginning is the first thing that made me think maybe this wasn't the book for me. I really, really dislike it when authors try and treat readers like they are so dumb that they will accept that this book was the
...more
Lizzie
I know I read some, maybe all, of the Holmes stories when I was a kid. My knowledge of Sherlock Holmes is mostly from the movies, though, including that unfortunate picture in which Basil Rathbone, I mean Holmes, fights the Nazis. (I just googled and there are three Holmes vs. Nazi movies, for god's sake.)

Anyway, this is a perfectly adequate mystery (and I'm deliberately damning with faint praise), but the book is more about the relationship between Holmes and Mary Russell than about the mystery
...more
Mandy
Nov 24, 2015 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bbbookworms
Ugh. This book. The narrator. I absolutely hated the style of narration. Mary narrates her own story 75 years later. Ugh. Mary. Mary Mary Mary-Sue.

There are SO many incomplete stories and thoughts. Mary likes to interrupt the story with a million statements like, “But, I didn’t realize that until later” or “But, that’s a story for another time.” I hated that and it happens every two seconds!

There’s an entire 40 million page scene where Mary and Sherlock are in Jerusalem where she only gives a
...more
Caitie
Jan 26, 2009 Caitie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caitie by: Kelly
Shelves: mystery
I really disliked the conceit that the book is a manuscript sent to Laurie King and the resulting first-person, memoirish narration. (The narrator often talks forebodingly of things that will happen later in the novel!) But the romance is definitely my biggest problem. I actually don't have a problem with the way Holmes or Watson were written, and the idea of Holmes as a mentor is fun and intriguing.

But then my sister told me that Mary and Holmes get married, and as much as I enjoy a May/Decemb
...more
Becky
Dec 16, 2015 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Laura, Bondama
This book is one that has been recommended to me by quite a few people... I probably would have never picked it up, having practically no interest in beekeeping myself (although I certainly do think that bees are important... SAVE THE BEES!), but people kept telling me to read this, read this, read this now! So, I finally got around to reading it, only to find that the expectations that I'd set for it actually hampered my enjoyment of this book.

I've only read one Sherlock Holmes story, the firs
...more
Andrew
Feb 21, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I finally finished the Beekeepers Apprentice - No reason due to the book, sadly more life getting in the way of things.

However I have completed it and I must admit that it was a interesting one. On the one had you have yet another Sherlock Holmes story and as you can imagine there are a fair few of those, of varying quality and style - to be honest I am not sure if it even warrants its own genre (wait for it I am sure someone will tell me there is).

In this case you are looking at Mr Holmes'
...more
Connie
Mary Russell, a precocious fifteen-year-old, is walking with her nose in a book when she trips over Sherlock Holmes. The semi-retired detective is sitting in the grass in the Sussex Downs observing bees. Mary has been recently orphaned, and is living with a difficult aunt until she reaches adulthood. Holmes is impressed with the girl's intelligence, her skills of observation, and her powers of deduction. He becomes her friend, and later takes her on as an apprentice. His housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, ...more
Tara Chevrestt
What a great idea! The author has created a lady assistant to the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Mary Russell matches him in wit, smarts, and most likely surpasses him the looks department. They meet when she is 15 and he is 45 and the story begins...

My problems: A. The beginning is full of irrelevant stuff like her schooling and her participating in plays. B. It takes WAY too long for the book to reach the case talked about on the book flap. By the time I reached that point, I discovered my mind wa
...more
Magdalena
I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him.

That’s is opening lines of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and a book that I have read several times since the first time I read it when I was around 14-15 years old. The strange and wonderful thing is that it’s a book that never ceases to be anything other than enjoyable despite the countless times I’ve read it.

Mary Russell is a young girl when she stumble
...more
puppitypup
Historical Fiction Exquisite

Reading this book, I felt as though I were standing still, lazing about at the end of an era, no inkling of time marching on outside my purview.

The unhurried pace at which the book begins, the cozy feel of the narration, the complete immersion into WWI Britain conspired together to utterly entrap me.

The pacing of this story is sheer perfection, the writing exquisite. The little things, the rich details of everyday life, were somehow woven together in such a way that t
...more
Stacey
Sep 10, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacey by: Nadya
I wrote a nice review, then crashed my browser window. This is the "I'm so not reconstructing that" rewrite version.

Read this, loved it. Not a huge Sherlock fan, but I liked the BBC miniseries, which is a very different sort of Holmes than this, but still quite recognizable. Mary might be just a little too perfect in the beginning, (with of course, her flaw/secret,) but it didn't bother me, because I really enjoyed the writing and pacing.

Haven't yet picked up Mary Russell #2, which might have
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Good Night, Mr. Holmes (Irene Adler, #1)
  • The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (Enola Holmes, #3)
  • The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7)
  • Where Shadows Dance (Sebastian St. Cyr, #6)
  • A Poisoned Season (Lady Emily, #2)
  • Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2)
  • Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)
  • Cut to the Quick (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #1)
6760
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
More about Laurie R. King...

Other Books in the Series

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • 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)
  • Pirate King (Mary Russell, #11)

Share This Book



“Eccentricty had flowered into madness.” 46 likes
“You cannot help being a female, and I should be something of a fool were I to discount your talents merely because of their housing.” 34 likes
More quotes…