I was first drawn to this re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes by a BBC Radio 4 Extra dramatisation and wanted to read the source material. The premise of the series is that a 50 year old Sherlock has retired to the country to escape his old profession and study bees – althugh we are made aware that he is still at the service of King, Country & Government (and Mycroft) for special cases. In the country he meets the precocious 16 yr old Mary Russell and takes the wealthy orphan under his wing as his apprentice. The first book covers Mary’s development into womanhood and while the cases they solve together are an amusing distraction the more interesting theme is Sherlock’s management of his misogeny and eventual sexual attraction to Mary a girl almost 40 years his junior. In the radio adaptation of this book they made it clear that at the end of their most dangerous case, and after Mary is wounded by Moriarty’s vengeful daughter, she and Sherlock were soon to depart for a well deserved ‘rest a deux’ sur le Continent. In subsequent novels they have married and tackle cases as a couple.
Laurie R King: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
19 Friday Jul 2013