Posts Tagged ‘The Language of Bees’

It’s very late, I’m very tired, so I’m just going to launch into things this week!

Book 46 – The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King.

I picked this up in a deal – 3 books for £5, a complete bargain! I was interested in reading it because is it a modern expansion on the Sherlock Holmes stories: it is crime-fighting with Sherlock, as told by his wife.

The story follows Mary Russell as she tries to help solve the mystery of a missing woman and child and their relationship to a number of deaths at ancient monuments.  The case is a personal one for Holmes, and becomes personal for Mary too, as she finds ways to use her experiences and education under Holmes to break the code in the clues.

As a crime-solving story it is fun, intricate enough to keep my attention and enjoyable enough for me to forgive the occasional red herring or unnecessary turning but I am not sure that having a 60-something Sherlock Holmes married to a woman in her 20s really worked for me. She is not clever enough to challenge him, at least in this tale (despite a few decisions she makes along the way that seem more reactive than proactive), and he isn’t the kind of character turned by a pretty face (which she herself says she has).

I wanted her to be more than she appears in this story.

That’s my major issue though, and I could get past it for most of the tale as Sherlock is not in it all the time. There is also a decided lack of romance which is good because a) it’s not Sherlock’s way and b) it would have been out of keeping with the rest of the writing.  However, although this is one of a series I don’t want to read earlier ones now, as Mary first encountered Holmes when she was 15 and I can’t now imagine going back with the knowledge of their adult relationship – it’s as though he moulded her thought patterns to make her more efficient and useful to him.

It was a good read, of a kind I generally wouldn’t pick; it was a clever way of using established characters without writing only about them (and risking poor reception) and it was fun to see a modern take on the world Holmes might have experienced.  I think Conan Doyle would have seen it rather differently – in this book sexual promiscuity and partner-swapping is accepted with little comment and no judgement but drug use is frowned upon…

Oh, the times have changed from Sherlock’s creation!

Happy reading,




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