Mary Russell is a (half?) Jewish (half?) American girl who takes up with Sherlock Holmes. Like him, she is brilliant and unemotional; she becomes his protégé at age fifteen, and they solve cases together. In The Beekeeper’s Apprentice they run up against a villain more villainous and clever than all the clever villainous villains heretofore encountered by Holmes (he says) (though obviously not because I have heard he got outwitted one time), and they work in tandem to thwart the villainously clever villain. This did not bother me because I have hardly read any Sherlock Holmes stories (apart from Hound of the Baskervilles) and thus did not have any Holmes canon sensibilities to offend. On the other hand, I expect there were oodles of things in this book that would have been more fun if I knew the Holmes canon. I enjoyed this reading experience but did not find it necessary – i.e., I carried it around in my purse for nearly a fortnight before finishing it all the way to the end.
My little sister started watching Doctor Who with me when I was about halfway through the second series. (Bear with me, it’s an explanatory anecdote.) She became hooked almost instantly, and after a while, as they will, some Daleks appeared and I screamed “OH NO OH GOD OH NO WHAT WILL HAPPEN EVERYONE WILL DIE!” and Social Sister said, “What what what what?” and I said, “IT IS THE DALEKS!” A dramatic pronouncement that fell flat because Social Sister had never seen a Dalek before (except in Breakfast on Pluto) and had no idea what they were.
I think The Beekeeper’s Apprentice was a bit like that. Not having read the Sherlock Holmes books made the book less punchy than (I believe) it could have been. But I liked Mary, and I shall revisit this series sometime after I have read some more Sherlock Holmes stories.
That’s all I got on the Mary Russell front. Other things are said by other people, and I would be glad to add your link if I missed it here: A Striped Armchair, Presenting Lenore, Books and Cooks, Today’s Adventure, One Swede Read, Shermeree’s Musings, Age 30 + …A Lifetime of Books, What KT Reads, My Random Acts of Reading, Bogormen
And now for something completely different:
On to a holiday out of which I expect neither Sherlock Holmes nor Mary Russell would get very much: Christmas! Christmas is coming, everyone! I know it is because I went to several shops today that had Christmas displays up, and because I sang Christmas songs in my car really loudly. Oh lovely Christmas, all red-and-greeny and cold (I hope) and full of delicious foods and lovely presents and my enormous family. To those of you who do not like for Christmas preparations to begin before Thanksgiving, I do not know what to say. The earlier I think about Christmas, the earlier I am filled with soaring sensations of joy and well-being, so for me, there is no point at all in waiting until after Thanksgiving.