Monday, March 30, 2009

A case of hives

Title: The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Author: Laurie R. King
Bookmark: hand-drawn map to the closest Metro station

It's been a very long time since I read any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and perhaps that's for the best; I don't get too hung up on how Doyle would've written a story like this, and I can instead sit back and enjoy how Laurie R. King did it. (in case you're wondering, "pretty damn well" sums it up)

Oh, right. It's a Sherlock Holmes story. Sort of. Let me back up.

Mary Russell lost her parents and brother in a car accident. She's plagued with nightmares of it and is forced to live with her aunt, who is mainly interested in skimming as much of Mary's inherited fortune as possible. One day, on a walk across the downs of Sussex, she trips over a gangly weirdo painting dots on bees, and within minutes deduces that he is the famous Sherlock Holmes. Within an hour, she has formed a bond with him that will last for years.

Holmes begins teaching Mary his craft, astonished that her mind is an equal to his own, and Mary begins teaching the legendary sleuth that women are far more than he ever realized. Soon they take on the case of a kidnapped American senator's daughter, and Mary gets a chance to truly prove herself to the master, moving from apprentice to partner. Naturally, a simple kidnapping wouldn't be that interesting, especially if it wraps up halfway through the book. To fill out the novel, King sics a mad bomber and criminal mastermind on our crime fighters, and they spend the rest of the pages trying to stay alive and stop the plot to end their careers.

It's a solid book, and a fun read, and no more convoluted than any other Holmes story. Plus, it's handy for a long flight.

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posted by reyn at 10:04 PM


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