Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Book Look Review "The Beekeeper's Apprentice"
“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”
My niece Heather who is the mother of four young children recently posted this on her blog. So perfectly worded, I stole it (with her permission). “My husband's books are pristine. He leaves a very small carbon footprint on his books - in fact he leaves not a single clue that he was ever there. The spines of his books are barely bent much less broken and you won't find any chocolate crumbs between any of his pages. His books are universally hardbound and stored by category and height. They are beautiful. But they are not mine. My books are messy. I am not afraid to wield a pen when reading and I have been known to attack some very interesting books with said pen. If I am going on a flight and I want a light, cheap book for the plane - I will buy (gasp, shame) paperback.”
I not only agree with this shameless behavior I support it wholeheartedly. In fact when I travel, I sink even lower by buying a paperback at the Friends of the Library bookstore which means it is (louder gasp, greater shame) a used paperback! And I often leave it behind on the shelf of the lake house or condo as a tattered hostess gift plainly stamped by the library as a “discard”.
One of my recent library purchases included the paperback novel titled “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King. I had actually read it about 10 years ago and knew it was a great one. Someone had been cleaning out their bookcase and donated it to be sold to help the library. I came along looking for a cheap mystery book to read on the plane and voila! A match made in heaven.
The book begins in 1915 out on the wind-swept moors. Fifteen-year-old Mary Russell meets the retired Sherlock Holmes who is now studying the behavior of the honeybee. Combining these two delightful characters was a stroke of brilliance by King. We have the well-known eccentricities of Mr.Holmes set against the fresh new precocious viewpoint of Miss Russell. Their friendship blossoms despite the difference in their age, sex and background. As Holmes tutors the young girl she soon matches him in the skills of deduction and disguise. Together they solve the case of a landowner’s mysterious fever, the kidnapping of an American senator’s daughter and finally face a deadly villain who wants their partnership to be terminated, permanently. It is a superb historical detective novel and one of my favorites in this genre.
I also agree with Heather that books were made for me; I was not made for books. They were created to serve me, and I will do as I choose with them. I love buying books at the Friends of the Library book store. I feel free to dog-ear, add crumbs between the pages and discard or leave behind my purchase without feeling guilty since it was purchased to support two worthy causes – the library and my need to read a paperback.