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Beekeeping for Beginners (Short Story) (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes) [Kindle Edition]

Laurie R. King
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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 Sussex Downs, in search of wild bees. The Great War may be raging across the Channel, but on the Downs, the great detective nears terminal melancholia—only to be saved by an encounter with headstrong, yellow-haired young Mary Russell, who soon becomes the Master’s apprentice not only in beekeeping but in detection. 

Holmes instantly spots her remarkable ability, but his sharp eyes also see troubling problems. Why is this wealthy orphan who lives with her aunt so shabbily dressed? Why is she so prone to illness and accident? Is she herself the center of a mystery? These are questions that the great detective must answer quickly lest his protégée, and his own new lease on life, meet a sudden, tragic end.

The tale of their meeting has been told from Russell’s point of view, but even those who have never met the famed Russell-Holmes pair will read this tale with delight—and, as its climax builds, with breathless excitement.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1430 KB
  • Print Length: 65 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZZH3ZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,147 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Occupy yourself while you're waiting July 22, 2011
By callie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series is the best fiction based on the Holmes characters that I have ever read. I highly recommend any book in the series.

This story retells the meeting of the two main character from Holmes view with some new revelations about the circumstances of their early association. (The books are from Mary's point of view.)

I thought the author wrote in the "voice" of Holmes very convincingly. However, the pacing in this book seems a little rushed and the revelations, after the first few pages, seem hardly that surpising.

If you are looking to keep in touch with these characters while you anxiously await Pirate King, as I do, then by all means buy the short story.

If you are new to the series, please introduce yourself by reading the first book "The Beekeeper's Apprentice." By the time you catch up with the series, you'll probably want to buy the short story too, and consider it worth your while for another glimpse of your, now favorite, characters.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a missing footnote July 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Like the earlier reviewer, I found this narrative rushed. One of the strengths of the early books in the series is King's attention to detail and willingness to give the reader a true sense of place as well as of character and action. This story -- short short, be warned, 40% of the space is a stupid Twitter interview with Russell (or her ghost) and then there are pages from the new book -- could have been a great missing chapter of The Beekeeper's Apprentice; instead, it is a great footnote.

I don't know what's going on with King. Her last two books (one book, really, split in half) were mere knock-offs of the early novels: King-lite. I hope that the pirate book is a return to form.

In the meanwhile, I'd suggest what I'm going to try -- a re-read of the first two books and Locked Rooms. And maybe a stand-alone or two. Folly is a great summer read . . . .

This story reminded me of how much I used to adore King's work. And it made me sad.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick, fun novelette!! August 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Laurie R. King has done what a number of my favorite authors have done and that is to release a short story as a form of introduction for a new book release. I loved this book, done from Holmes' viewpoint, at the first case with Mary Russell. It was just a fun, short read!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Short Story February 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Beekeeping for Beginners by Laurie King was a fun short story involving Sherlock Holmes and the introduction of Mary Russell, his assistant. I enjoyed this short story more than her most recent novel, Pirate King. The story seemed to move quicker and not drag on plus there was more about the character of Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is taking care of his bees and contemplating suicide when along comes "supposedly" a fifteen year old boy dressed in ragged clothing. Holmes comes to find out that "he" is a "she" when she takes off her cap.

Holmes is fascinated with her and feels like he can teach her to be his assistant in detective work. He also helps her with her chemistry.

Holmes becomes concerned when he sees her with bruises and she also becomes sick in a short period of time. So the search is on for him to find out what is happening. He finds out that she lives with her aunt who is interested in her inheritance. Thus, he sneaks in her house for some clues. You will have to read the story to find out who is after Mary Russell.

It is interesting in that Holmes compares beekeeping to detective work. Rule number one "stay calm", rule number two "one must occasionally be cruel to be kind", rule number three "never ever cease to feel wonder", and rule number four "success often rests on the imperceptibility of one's meddling". I also learned some things about bees that I didn't know before which was interesting.

This unbiased review was based on an electronic copy of the book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small serving of Sherlock Holmes October 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm rather a fool for Laurie King's Mary Russell novels. She tells stories from the viewpoint of a brilliant and articulate woman who solves intricate puzzles. Mary Russell is is immersed in the issues of her era (largely the 1920s), such as the politics in Palestine or the position of women after World War I. I am always impatient for her NEXT book.

But this short story kept me occupied for a little while -- and if you are a Mary Russell fan, I think you'll like it too.

In short: It tells the "Russell and Holmes meet" story from Holmes' point of view. Including incidents that Russell never learned about.

This is a short story. It doesn't go into the loving detail that we novel-readers expect from King's writing. That's okay with me. I think it's of interest primarily to earlier fans, rather than an easy introduction to the full story. (And God knows I have pressed enough copies of The Beekeeper's Apprentice upon my friends, who must think that I get a kickback.)

The "Twitter interview" at the end didn't work for me, even though I am an avid Twitter user. But that's okay. The short story is a good short story... and worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's tough to Be Laurie R. King October 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Laurie King continues to deliver great storytelling in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. This story is a short one, but is not diminished by it length. It continues to expand the world of Mary and Sherlock that Ms. King has divined for us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
If you are a fan of the Mary Russell series, this short story is a must-read. It tells about Mary and Sherlock's first meeting from his perspective, and is a really quick and... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to see a different perspective on a story you've ...
Nice to see a different perspective on a story you've already read. Not as fleshed out as a book, of course, but still very good.
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars a nice addition to the Mary Russell series
Too short, but it does fill a gap in the series. And it does fit in with the rest of the books.
Published 16 days ago by K. Heikkila
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of Holmes and Russell meeting from Holmes' perspective
This was great fun to read, and fascinating as always. Laurie R. King captures the era and the personalities like no other...I feel as though I know them both and glad of it.
Published 1 month ago by Cathy Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books and stories are ALL...
This one is a re-telling of some of the events from "The Beekeeper's Apprentice," the first book in the series, from the point of view of Sherlock Holmes. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MargretRose
5.0 out of 5 stars Beekeeping in the true Sherlock style
Great short story. In fact when I finished it I wished it had been a novel rather then a short story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Nancy L. Beckham
5.0 out of 5 stars The first meeting
Great beginning to the story of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell. What a lovely way to start the enjoyable journey that is their story. Thoroughly engaging. Read more
Published 2 months ago by larry pace
5.0 out of 5 stars Big delight in a small package
Laurie R. King once again gives an insightful story about the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, this time about their meeting and early companionship.
Published 2 months ago by bookie beader
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Conan-Doyle standards
I suppose I'm not able to make the jump from the traditional Sherlock Holmes stories to the notion of Holmes' wife joining him in detection. Old School dies hard...................
Published 2 months ago by barronlaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story told from Holme's viewpoint
Well written and enjoyable, this is a great way to revisit the early days of The Beekeeper's Apprentice in a fresh way. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes both series and standalone novels.

In the Mary Russell series (first entry: The Beekeeper's Apprentice), fifteen-year-old Russell meets Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs in 1915, becoming his apprentice, then his partner. The series follows their amiably contentious partnership into the 1920s as they challenge each other to ever greater feats of detection.

The Kate Martinelli series, starting with A Grave Talent, concerns a San Francisco homicide inspector, her SFPD partner, and her life partner. In the course of the series, Kate encounters a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers, a manifestation of the goddess Kali and an eighty-year-old manuscript concerning'Sherlock Holmes.

King also has written stand-alone novels--the historical thriller Touchstone, A Darker Place, two loosely linked novels'Folly and Keeping Watch--and a science fiction novel, Califia's Daughters, under the pseudonym Leigh Richards.

King grew up reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa before going on to become a mother, builder, world traveler, and theologian.

She has now settled into a genteel life of crime, back in her native northern California. She has a secondary residence in cyberspace, where she enjoys meeting readers in her Virtual Book Club and on her blog.

King has won the Edgar and Creasey awards (for A Grave Talent), the Nero (for A Monstrous Regiment of Women) and the MacCavity (for Folly); her nominations include the Agatha, the Orange, the Barry, and two more Edgars. She was also given an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Check out King's website,, and follow the links to her blog and Virtual Book Club, featuring monthly discussions of her work, with regular visits from the author herself. And for regular LRK updates, follow the link to sign up for her email newsletter.

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