The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994)

Beekeeper's Apprent#11FA9AD

missing image!Twenty years since Mary Russell stumbled over Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs!  To celebrate, a new hardback edition of the beloved first Memoir, with a foreword by Miss Russell’s “literary agent”, Laurie R. King.

 Twentieth Anniversary Edition, 2014
With a new author foreword

One of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century

I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him. In my defence I must say it was an engrossing book, and it was very rare to come across another person in that particular part of the world in that war year of 1915. In my seven weeks of peripatetic reading amongst the sheep (which tended to move out of my way) and the gorse bushes (to which I had painfully developed an instinctive awareness) I had never before stepped on a person.

Read an excerpt here.

To Buy a Copy

Bookshop Santa Cruz (ask for a signed copy!)

What they say

As every good mystery reader knows, when Sherlock Holmes quit detection, he retired to the South Downs to keep bees. What he wanted was the quiet life. What he got, according to Laurie King, was a gawky but fiercely intelligent apprentice. Not only that, but this apprentice was a young woman….For my money, Laurie King is the most interesting writer to emerge on the American crime fiction front in recent years. Intelligent, humane, gifted with both talent and insight, she is an unalloyed pleasure to read. (Manchester Evening NewsVal McDermid)

From Anna Quindlen’s How Reading Changed my Life: The 10 mystery novels I’d most like to find in a summer rental:

  • An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (PD James)
  • Gaudy Night (Dorothy Sayers)
  • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Laurie R. King)
  • Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier)
  • Get Shorty (Elmore Leonard)
  • Dancers in Mourning (Margery Allingham)
  • The Way Through the Woods (Colin Dexter)
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  • Brat Farrer (Josephine Tey)
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (John leCarre)

Imagine Sherlock Holmes retiring to a Sussex farm but keeping his hand in by occasionally investigating cases for the British government…. Then picture Holmes, walking on the Sussex Downs, literally stumbling across a 15 year-old girl whose brilliant intellect, caustic wit, egotistical personality, and gift for detail rival Holmes’ own. (Booklist)

King’s novel is civilized, ingenious and engrossing. Best of all, it has heart. (Times Literary Review)

BOOK magazine (Jan 2004) ranked the “sidekicks” of mystery fiction, from Koko and Yum Yum the cats (Lilian Jackson Braun) to “Mouse” Alexander (Walter Mosley). The winner, with 40 points, was Hawk (Robert B. Parker)—and who would dare argue with Hawk? But second with 30 points was…”Sherlock Holmes, husband and mentor to Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell.”


Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing The Beekeeper’s Apprentice on Mutterings.

Ten years of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice covers and art

The Sussex Beekeepers Association

Essay by Fred Erisman, If Watson Were a Woman.

Download the Beekeeper’s Apprentice reading group guide.

Visit Laurie’s reader’s corner.


Visit the gallery here.

Watch the video trailer and more on our YouTube channel, here.