The Language of Bees

The Language of Bees

A Mary Russell Novel

Book - 2009
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For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad is a delicious anticipation. But the longed for sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a bitter memory from her husband's past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, but the talented and troubled young man is enlisting her help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child. From suicides among the Standing Stones to a bizarre religious cult, from the heart of Bohemian London to dark secrets 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
Characteristics: 432 p. :,map,24 cm.


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Dec 12, 2017

To me, this installment of the Russell-Holmes series comes close to restoring the sense of teamwork and connectedness that has been missing from the last two or three books. "Comes close" because the playfulness they had early on isn't quite what it was. I'm almost believing again that this is a married couple, but not quite. However, giving Mycroft more of a presence is a stroke of genius, among other things because he is Sherlock's gentler counterpart. In this story we begin to see the depth of the quiet friendship between Mary and her brother-in-law.

The plot has some extremely dark elements, but (unlike in "The Game") we are not left to soak in those elements for endless stretches of time. Although this is a "part one of two," there is a well-controlled rhythm (tension gradually building) that helps make the story satisfying. I realize if I had read this book the year it was released I might have felt less satisfied with the story, since there would have been a year's wait for the conclusion ("The God of the Hive"), but fortunately this is a moot point. :)

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.

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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