Fem-Friendy Book Rec: 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice'

Posted at 12:35 PM Dec 23, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

I'm pumped about seeing RDJ in Sherlock Holmes this weekend (anyone wanna send over some steampunk jewelry so I can get in the spirit of things?), but I'm frustrated nonetheless: whither the big-screen female detective leads? Surely intrigue and monocles and murder are not the exclusive domain of dudes with dapper facial hair?

In the movies, you win this time, boys--but oh, my dear, finding excellent female detective leads in fiction is far more elementary. Over this Christmas break, I'm immersing myself in the world of Mary Russell, the whip-smart feminist-minded accomplice (and more!) of one Sherlock Homes in a series of books by Laurie R. King.

Because look, at some point you'll have watched all the Law And Order: SVU available on insta-Netflix and your brain will be dying for something other than a 40-minute sex crime procedural. Which is why I suggest you get yourself to the nearest bookseller and grab a copy of The Beekeeper's Apprentice. You might have to look in the young adult section. Somehow I don't feel like I have to tell you not to be embarrassed about that.

The series begins with a teenaged Mary Russell meeting an aging and self-secluded Sherlock Holmes, who takes her under his tutelage. It is not long, however, before Russell's skills match the master's. Laurie King launches the pair into solving cases involving international politics, ancient religion, kidnapping, murder and other general mysteriousness. All the while, Russell maintains a strong, proud ladyhood, much to the approval of Holmes, who can only try to keep up. The books are as fun as they are feminist, and any mystery-minded lady is sure to enjoy them. Anyway, they're a hell of a step up from that Sookie Stackhouse crap.


Lewen said:

I used to love those books and then she married the old fart and squicked me.

Lewen said:

have you read all of the books? She marries the old fart and I couldn't bare to read them anymore

Sally Rose said:

If you want a good Victorian, Steampunk Feminist try Soulless from Gail Carriger. Fun, smart and even has some mystery and mayhem added along with Queen Victoria!

Pete said:

Those revisionist period pieces tend to stretch the imagination. Could you write a story set in a world in which the magna carta granted suffrage? If you asked many feminsts they'd probably describe some boring utopia story. Hardly engaging. We shoulda never let em vote in the first place. I miss the good ol' days

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