Archive for the ‘female crime solver’ Tag

Sherlock Holmes Redux   Leave a comment

The idea of pairing an older Sherlock Holmes with a young woman as a crime-solving duo is, well, elementary!

Laurie R. King has done just that in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, set many years after Holmes has retired to Sussex Downs, near the sea and far from London. There, he has mostly settled into life keeping bees and taking on the occasional case.

One day on a walk, he encounters 15-year-old Mary Russell, a bright girl, whose intellect captures his attention. The two begin a friendship based on mental acuity, powers of observation, science, deduction and a flair for the audacious.

There’s little mention of Dr. Watson, but Mrs. Hudson continues as Holmes’s housekeeper – and Mary’s surrogate caregiver. (Mary is an orphan left in the care of a cold, ill-disposed aunt.)

Through the years, Mary’s education is augmented by her time spent with Holmes. Even after she leaves for Oxford, they remain in touch.  It comes as no surprise when they work together to solve, at first minor crimes, before being thrown into webs of deceit and danger not unlike those once constructed by Holmes’ arch enemy, the now-deceased Moriarty.

Her intelligence, thirst for knowledge and appreciation of Holmes make Mary a likeable character. She understands him without being intimidated.

King injects humor and warmth into her writing and provides a different perspective of Holmes thanks to the strong, female character she has created in Mary. The thrill of the chase is evident in the way Holmes and Mary work together.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Four Bookmarks

Laurie R. King

Bantam Books, 1996

405 pages