Weekly Capsule 17.3 & Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

mustard plaid dress blue blazer brown heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

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.

mustard plaid dress blue blazer brown heeled loafers by 14 shades of greymustard plaid dress blue blazer by 14 shades of grey

mustard plaid dress blue blazer arrow pin by 14 shades of greymustard plaid dress brown heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

Dress: tailor, Blazer: Atmosphere, Belt: Forever21, Pin: Etsy, Shoes: local shop

6 Comments on “Weekly Capsule 17.3 & Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”

  1. This outfit is awesome. Can you link it up to my linkup party? Thanks http://highlatitudestyle.com/2015/04/30/ill-have-what-she-is-having/

  2. oh my goodness! Beekeeper’s Apprentice has long been a favorite of mine. “O, Jerusalem” and “Justice Hall” are the best books in the series, I think.

    • Salazar says:

      Cool! Thanks for letting me know, Kathleen. I plan to read all of them eventually, but since “O Jerusalem” takes place at the same time as “Beekeeper’s Apprentice”, maybe I’ll read it first.

  3. Kezzie says:

    Ahhhh, Salazar, I must read this book! It sounds great but I know exactly what you mean about the denouement revealing a villain you would never have guessed since they hardly feature. I recently read a Railway detective book like that and I was really cross when it was revealed who the villain was!
    Really liking this combination of items. I really do have a shirt dress obsession at the moment. I bought one which I MAY wear for SIA this week because the colours might be rightish but not sure yet!xxx

  4. Mike says:

    Yes, I agree with Kezzie, Salazar. I too must read the Sherlock Holmes books. I admit that while I’ve seen the character throughout many interpretations and spoofs, I’ve never read the actual books. I’m on a sort of book series obsession right now. Not to take away from the subject here, but I’m currently listening to a book series (on audio CD) called The 39 Clues. It’s pretty awesome as the reader does all the character voices so well that I can always tell who is speaking. It’s like listening to drama theater or something. But anyway, back to the book that you are talking about, I like the sound of it. Mary sounds like a very strong and intelligent character. I am always encouraged to hear about strong female characters that are just as intelligent and capable as their male counterparts. That’s how it should be.
    It sounds like, from your perspective, that the true villain in the story is an enigma and it helps keep the reader on their toes until the very end when the true master mind of crime is revealed. Sounds like an awesome story! I must read this book! And I don’t mind long series. The series I’m currently listening to is like close to 20 books, maybe more. I recently finished book 10. As long as they keep my interests and come up with new plotlines, I’ll keep reading.
    Thanks for sharing about this book! I always thought about reading Sherlock Holmes one day, but never got around to it. Looks like I have some motivation now!

  5. Jeremy Brett is the Holmes I grew up with, too! Always my Sherlock.

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