The Language of Bees

The Language of Bees

A Mary Russell Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
4
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In a case that will push their relationship to the breaking point, Mary Russell must help reverse the greatest failure of her legendary husband's storied past--a painful and personal defeat that still has the power to sting...this time fatally. For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve--the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes's beloved hives. But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from her husband's past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the promising surrealist painter had been charged with--and exonerated from--murder. Now the talented and troubled young man was enlisting their help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child. When it comes to communal behavior, Russell has often observed that there are many kinds of madness. And before this case yields its shattering solution, she'll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to a bizarre religious cult, from the demimonde of the Cafe Royal at the heart of Bohemian London to the dark secrets of a young woman's past on the streets of Shanghai, Russell will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she's ever faced--a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2009.
ISBN: 9780553804546
0553804545
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY
Characteristics: 432 p. :,map ;,24 cm.

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wyenotgo
Nov 25, 2016

After reading the first four books in the Mary Russell series, I was finding each book a bit less enjoyable than the last. None had recaptured the charm of the first one. I decided to skip ahead to this one which is #9 -- to get a better idea of where the series was headed and partly because this one seems to have been getting more favorable reviews. That may have been a mistake. The Holmes in this book bears almost no resemblance to the Holmes of the Beekeeper's Apprentice, let alone the Holmes of Doyle. This is also a much darker story and it lacks the atmosphere and mystery one would look for in such a story.
Generally a disappointment.

h
htliang
Nov 27, 2015

This is a well-written mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes and his wife, Mary Russell. This is the first I have read in the Mary Russell series, so I can't comment on how it compares to others. I was disappointed that Sherlock Holmes was almost completely absent in the story, although Mary Russell is a compelling character. I didn't find the setting particularly descriptive of a different period in history; I thought that it could have been 1875 or 1975! (The events actually take place in 1924.)
I also thought that the story dragged in many places. You knew who the main villain was fairly early and there really were no surprises - except a very annoying "to be continued..." at the end. The story does (almost) come to a conclusion, anyway, so I wasn't too upset about that.
The series has received great reviews, and I notice others have commented that they prefer the earlier Russell and Holmes mysteries where Holmes plays a greater role. So, I look forward to trying one of earlier installments some day.The first in the series is "The Beekeeper's Apprentice".

samdog123 Sep 14, 2009

If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes mysteries the way I do, you really should give this series a try. Written by Laurie R. King, the series involves the character Sherlock Holmes and his ward, Mary Russell. The two get involved in many Victorian mysteries and the series gets better and better! The first in the series is The Beekeeper's Apprentice. King also writes the Kate Martinelli mystery series (1st title is A Grave Talent) and several other good stand alone works, i.e. Folly, A darker place.

Librarymama Sep 02, 2009

Ninth in the Russell and Holmes series, I galloped through to the end of Language of Bees, only to find it is "to be continued." I would have given this 5 stars, but the villain of the piece is too unfleshed. Perhaps we'll learn more of him in the sequel. In the meantime, King builds a strong backstory to the Holmes/Irene Adler relationship and sends Mary Russell on a wild flight to the north of Scotland with a WW I barn-stormer.

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