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beekeeper apprenticeTitle: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Writer: Laurie R. King

Publisher: Allison & Busby Limited (2010)

Pages: 440p

Bought at: Book Depository 25 hrs sale (USD 5,62)

I am not really a Sherlockian, and I think there’s something off with the famous detective. But nevertheless, I like some of his stories, and I always like Dr. Watson, the under appreciated sidekick.

There are many Sherlock Holmes spinoffs, and this one, the Mary Russell’s series, is quite famous and has good reviews everywhere. So I decided to give it a try, especially because there’s this Readalong event in Fanda’s blog.

The premise is pretty good: a lonely but genius girl, Mary Russell, moved to a farm in Sussex after her parents died in an accident. She lived with her mean aunt, and waited until she became 21 years old so she could have her inheritance. It was 1915 when she first met with Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective who was retired and lived in Sussex, busy with his new hobby as a beekeeper.

Russell and Holmes had similar genius minds, smart and unusual ideas, and an incredible deduction skill. They hit it off even though had many fights in the beginning because they both were very stubborn. Slowly but sure, their relationship blossomed, from a student-teacher relationship, to the true partnership.

Holmes trained Russell to be his partner in crime- and not only as a minor sidekick like Watson. Together they solved some mysteries, from a mysterious neighbor who was probably a spy, to a senator’s daughter being kidnapped, and a crazy bomber who tried to kill them both.

This is another book that I really wanted to like more than I do now. Everything seemed so in place: a girl for Holmes’s sidekick, mysteries a la Holmes that need to be solved together, and a more feminine approach into Holmes’s retiring life. He was almost in his sixties so I guess his partnership with a girl who’s barely twenty, will be an interesting one. Sort of like a father-daughter relationship.

But when the story between them turned into something that’s more than a professional partnership, and I imagined Holmes and Russell- with almost 40 years differences- became more than student and teacher, ugh.. I can’t enjoy it as much as I did before.

The mysteries are also so-so. Not too unpredictable, the twists are decent but not spectacular, and there are no element of surprises in some of the cases. Russell’s gloomy past became something of a cliche, something that tried to justify her weaknesses but became quite flat for my taste.

I enjoyed some of the plots, the deduction method Holmes and Russell still used, and their chemistry in some parts of the book, but I don’t think I wanted to follow this series- which now already been published until the 12th book. I think I’ll stick to the classic Conan Doyle’s – and probably some of Anthony Horowitz’s ones.

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