Weekly Capsule 17.3 & Book Review: The Beekeeper’s ApprenticePosted: April 30, 2015
I’ve been on a Sherlock Holmes kick lately. I’ve reread the books and rewatched the series with Jeremy Brett (it’s the first adaptation I ever saw, so to me Jeremy Brett is the one and only Holmes – sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch). And this is the book that started it – “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King. It tells the story of 15-year-old Mary Russell, who, after a family tragedy, is sent to Sussex to live with a relative, until one day, she (quite literally) walks into a retired Sherlock Holmes, and impresses him so much that he takes her on as an apprentice.
What I love about this is that Mary, unlike Watson, is very much an equal to Holmes. She has the same brilliant mind, and she is not afraid to assert herself and call Holmes out on his shortcomings. It can be a bit difficult to identify with somebody who’s always so calm and self-aware (even when she shows her flaws), but it is this quote about her hair that makes me like Mary a lot more: “I find short hair too much fuss, always needing combing and cutting. Long hair is much easier, oddly enough.” Well, I can certainly identify with that.
My biggest quibble, however, is with the story. Namely, the resolution. I hate the idea that the bad guy is some very, very minor, barely-mentioned character. I don’t mind misdirection and red herring; it’s just that I prefer “The bad guy is not A, but B”, yet here it’s more like “There is no A. The bad guy is Z”, you know? There’s misdirection, and then there’s withholding information from the readers. How are we supposed to guess that this character is the bad guy when he is barely in the story at all?
But that’s just a matter of preference, I guess. The story is well written enough and the characters are interesting enough that I’m going to check out the other books in the series (there are 14 so far).
As for the outfit, there is no detailed description of clothes in the book, so here is my interpretation of what Mary may wear – a simple dress, sensible shoes, menswear-inspired blazer, and subtle accessories (if only I had a bee/insect brooch!) The color scheme was supposed to mimic the book’s cover, but my black blazers and shoes don’t go with this dress, so I went with blue instead.
Dress: tailor, Blazer: Atmosphere, Belt: Forever21, Pin: Etsy, Shoes: local shop