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The Language of Bees: 09/07/10

cover art

I associate books with places, not necessarily where they are set but where I was when I read them. The Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King brings to mind the Pacific Surfliner. I read the entirety of The Beekeeper's Apprentice en route to San Diego from Los Angeles.

When I saw the cover of the ninth book, The Language of Bees which harkens back to the series opener I was taken back to that train ride. Nostalgia compelled me to bring the book along for our trip down to Los Angeles for a mini family reunion.

After numerous adventures all over the world (including San Francisco), Russell and Holmes are back in Sussex home. It was so refreshing to return to the roots of the series, back to beekeeping and a mystery set on British soil. There is just one kink in the return to normalcy, the appearance of Holmes's adult son!

Unlike the other novels, The Language of Bees follows a parallel structure with half the book told from Mary's point of view and the other half following Sherlock and told in a more detached third person perspective. At first I was nervous about this turn of events, fearing King would be trying to mimic the more recent Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. Thankfully she stays true to her characters and to the overall tone of the series.

A Sherlock Holmes mystery though just wouldn't be the same without a trip to London. It's there that the action begins to pick up as both parties follow the trail to the missing wife and daughter to a strange religious cult and beyond. Cults have been done to death but King makes it work here by comparing its structure to that of an unhealthy colony of bees.

While most books stand alone in the series, this one is dovetailed with The God of the Hive. I recommend you get both of them to read back to back.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, September, 8, 2010 at 09:34:55

Mareena McGirr


Comment #2: Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 14:40:39


Thank you for the award.

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