Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Beekeeper's Apprentice Paperback – July 1, 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 651 customer reviews
Book 1 of 13 in the Mary Russell Series

See all 34 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, July 1, 1996
$5.00 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Books with Buzz
"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch is a brilliantly plotted, relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy. See more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sherlock Holmes takes on a young, female apprentice in this delightful and well-wrought addition to the master detective's casework. In the early years of WW I, 15-year-old American Mary Russell encounters Holmes, retired in Sussex Downs where Conan Doyle left him raising bees. Mary, an orphan rebelling against her guardian aunt's strictures, impresses the sleuth with her intelligence and acumen. Holmes initiates her into the mysteries of detection, allowing her to participate in a few cases when she comes home from her studies at Oxford. The collaboration is ignited by the kidnapping in Wales of Jessica Simpson, daughter of an American senator. The sleuthing duo find signs of the hand of a master criminal, and after Russell rescues the child, attempts are made on their lives (and on Watson's), with evidence piling up that the master criminal is out to get Holmes and all he holds dear. King ( A Grave Talent ) has created a fitting partner for the Great Detective: a quirky, intelligent woman who can hold her own with a man renowned for his contempt for other people's thought processes.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-At 15, Mary Russell is tall and gangling, bespectacled and bookish. In 1915, the orphaned heiress is living in her ancestral home with an embittered aunt she has plucked from genteel poverty to act as a guardian until she reaches her majority. In order to escape the woman's generally malevolent disposition, she wanders the Downs. On one such outing, she trips over a gaunt, elderly man sitting on the ground, "watching bees." This gentleman turns out to be Sherlock Holmes, and the resulting acquaintance evolves into a mentoring experience for the young woman. The story is well written in a style slightly reminiscent of Conan Doyle's, but is also very much King's own. The plot is somewhat predictable, but the characterizations are excellent and the times and places are skillfully evoked. Readers come to understand much of Holmes that was unexplained by Dr. Watson. These additions are entirely plausible, and the relationship between the great detective and his apprentice is delightful. Readers see much of Sussex, London, and even of student life at Oxford and the conditions of Romanies (Gypsies) in Wales. Wartime Britain is accurately evoked, and the whole is a lot of fun to read. While a fitting addition to the Holmes oeuvre, the narrative is delightfully feminist. It is likely to please YAs already entranced by Sherlock Holmes and will surely attract a few new fans.
Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553571656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553571653
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (651 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sebastian Fernandez VINE VOICE on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
After the death of her family, Mary Russell, a fifteen year-old, moves to a farm with her "evil" aunt. In one of her walks around the area she meets the famous Sherlock Holmes, who is retired and dedicates his hours to the study of bees. Right from the start the two main characters in the book match their wits and Holmes is surprised by the potential he sees in this young woman. He then decides to tutor her and introduce her to the art of investigative work. In the next few years, they go through a few cases and Mary goes away to Oxford to continue her studies; but at one point they are faced with a more dangerous opponent, who wants to kill not only Holmes, but also Mary; even Dr. Watson and Mycroft are in danger. If you want to know the rest, you better read the book!
In my opinion the author does a very good job in maintaining the particular characteristics that define the characters in Arthur Conan Doyle's books, especially in the case of Sherlock Holmes. It is amazing how you feel that the deductive work is done by exactly the same detective you knew from the past, and with the added benefit of a fresh mind assisting him!
I was very pleased to see the ingenious way in which Laurie King connected this new series with the Conan Doyle's work. She concocted a story about her receiving the manuscripts of the different stories in the series some time ago, and that she is merely the editor. The manuscripts were of course written by the enchanting Mary Russell.
Finally, let me tell you that, since I am an avid chess player, I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which Holmes uses a chess game with Mary to explain the strategy he was planning to utilize in one of their cases.
I will definitely continue reading the books in this series, and if you haven't started yet, I recommend you do it now!
6 Comments 134 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
At least once or twice every year I find myself in a Holmes state of mind. Basil Rathbone makes numerous appearances on my screen at this time and books--by Conan Doyle as well as others--are strewn across the couch. And even though this has been going on for years, my first experience with Mary Russell and Laurie King's Holmes came only two days ago. A new name has indeed been added to my yearly Holmes phase.
Laurie King's Holmes is subtle. And it is because of that that he is entirely believable, and what's more, remarkably likeable. As another reviewer noted, under King's hand and through Mary Russell's eyes the aging detective is human, almost fallible. Little gestures, small displays of emotion, makes the reader care about him on a personal level that cannot be reached when he is shown only as the master of deduction. King's treatment of this classic fictional figure has added a new element to my devotion. I absolutely cannot wait to read the rest of the series to see how Holmes progresses in this regard.
Russell is a strong protagonist. Admittedly, when I first started the book I had a problem with the fact that she was fifteen years old--the voice didn't seem quite right, or believable. I suppose it's not completely out of the scope of reason that a fifteen year old was/is capable of having a quick, intelligent mind, but one that could compete on a level with Holmes? (One, no less, that had seemingly little challenging education other than the books she constantly had her nose in.) I'm not entirely sure about that. It may just be that she intrigued him with the intelligence she displayed for her age, but that doesn't seem to be the case, at least not totally. I just found it rather curious that King decided to have her meet Holmes at such a young age.
Read more ›
Comment 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I must say, this is one of my favorite books in the world. I first read it 5 years ago and it has never grown old. Anytime I am without a book to read, I pull it out and, once again, I am caught up in the world of Sherlock Holmes.
The book is about Mary Russel, a 15 year old girl who one day meets a retired Sherlock Holmes near his home on the Sussex countryside. She instantly catches his attention and becomes his protege for the next few years. Being an orphan, she is practically adopted by Holmes, who teaches her many skills that are useful in their line of work. When Russell turns 18, she goes off to Oxford to study-of all things-theology. While there, Holmes is attacked by a mysterious enemy who's plan is to not only hurt Holmes, but his close friends as well. This leads Holmes and Russell on a daring chase for a suprising enemy. And as their search goes on, Russell grows from being Holmes' student into his partner.
I have always found the Sherlock Holmes in Laurie R. King's books to be much more sociable, and likable, than the Holmes in Conan Doyle's books. Conan Doyle made him out as an omnipotent, all-powerful being. In Laurie R. King's books you see the more human side of him.
I've enjoyed all of Laurie R. King's books in this series. They are, so far, in order: The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary, The Moor, and O Jerusalem. I would recommend these books to anyone, especially someone who loves a good mystery.
2 Comments 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews