The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Ms. King has created an interesting scenario where a young woman, Mary Russell, meets Sherlock Holmes in the country after he has retired. She impresses him with her intelligence and powers of observation. You might even say that she is what Sherlock Holmes would have been like if he had been born a girl. The first part of the book is about how she comes to have a close relationship with Holmes as the Beekeeper’s apprentice. In this case, Sherlock does keep bees. The latter part of the book is filled with investigative casework.

Ms. King’s writing is very good, and Mary Russell is a memorable character. The book definitely deserves four stars although I would have loved to see the first part of the book expanded into a full novel.

For Sherlock Holmes Fans, Moriarity Returns a Letter

This is the third book in The  Baker Street Mysteries series by Michael Robertson. The premise is that two brothers, Reggie and Nigel, who now have their law offices in the 200 block of Baker Street are sometimes mistakened for the descendants of Sherlock Holmes.

A crime committed during the time when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories were being published in The Strand comes to light and threatens the welfare of Reggie and his fiancé on the eve of their wedding.

Robertson’s writing pulls us along nicely for a while. Unfortunately, about halfway into the book, we know who the criminal is, and the tension dissipates. Switching points of view between the brothers doesn’t work well at all. The story abruptly ends with a bit of narration instead of action after the brothers meet up on the moors. What worked for Poirot doesn’t work for Reggie and Nigel. That is too bad since the Moriarty premise was interesting, and Robertson has some obvious writing skills. For those reasons, I’ll probably take a look at his other books, but I can’t recommend this installment.