Skip to main content

The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

I love the title of this the 9th Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel. In name and spirit, The Language of Bees brings things back to the beginning once more. Back to the Downs, back to the hives, back to a 15-year-old Mary Russell stumbling over a retired detective tending his bees in peace, thus setting into motion the unlikely formation of a most formidable and engaging partnership. What an adventure it's been, and how fascinating to follow these two dominant personalities meet and clash and meet again, picking their way ever so rationally toward a kind of home.

In this installment, Russell and Holmes indeed come home to Sussex after months and months abroad--tired, anxious, and, in Russell's case, tangled up in self-doubt and disillusionment. They walk through the door to find Holmes' beloved bees have inexplicably fled their hive and a stranger waiting for them. A stranger who is not a stranger after all. They met surrealist painter Damian Adler once before. Now he solicits Holmes' aid tracking down his missing wife and child. Holmes and Adler depart for London, leaving Russell to unpack, unwind, and investigate the mysteriously missing bees. Soon, however, the pair will reunite and blaze a trail across the isles of Britain, following a string of standing stones, gruesome suicides, and sacrifices, as they attempt to locate Damian's family.

There is something of the truly macabre in this volume. Even the cover, which at first glance is merely lovely, takes on a particularly disturbing quality after all is said and done. Undertones of madness course throughout the tale and I found myself, along with Mary, shaking off shivers of fear and uncertainty in my haste to find out what was behind the string of awful deaths and missing people. Interestingly enough, I found the crux of the mystery to be not so much who did it but the effect of fear and uncertainty (and, yes, madness) on each of the major players. Excepting, of course, Holmes' unflappable brother Mycroft, who continues to be a delight despite his sudden loss of weight. Russell and Holmes' stay with Mycroft was one of the high points for me, as was (rather surprisingly) Russell's solo stay at home. Usually I prefer my Russell and my Holmes together for as much of the story as possible. However, I found myself completely riveted as Russell paced the halls of the place that has, after nine years, become her home, trying to find herself once more amid a houseful of Holmes. Laurie R. King pulls out all kinds of stops in this one, managing at once to entertain and make the reader think and feel and wonder, like Russell, if anyone can be trusted. Holmes, Adler, even herself. I will say that this one does end unresolved in certain respects and, as such, left me longing for the next installment. Alas, a not altogether unfamiliar emotion.

Comments

  1. I have been resisting this series...

    but you, oh most evil book pimp, are making it nigh impossible!

    ReplyDelete
  2. vickivanv11:01 AM

    I'm so glad you liked it! It turned out to be one of my faves in the series, which is saying a lot, considering my extreme Russellholism. Oh, and the audiobook edition just hit audible's website. I have it downloaded to my iphone, ready for my walk. :D :D :D

    Love your header art--that's fairly new, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oooh:

    "I found the crux of the mystery to be not so much who did it but the effect of fear and uncertainty (and, yes, madness) on each of the major players."

    Well, This sounds wonderful! Maybe I need to jump on this series. Do I have to start at the beginning?

    ReplyDelete
  4. ALady, resist no longer! Get thyself a copy of THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE and don't look back. :)

    CK, I was thrilled at how good it was. It really did take me back to the first time I read BEEK and how happy I was I'd listened to you and picked it up. And, yes, the header art is pretty new. Custom made by my most awesome brother-in-law The Artist. I'm glad you like.

    Carolyn, jump! I do think you need to start at the beginning, if just to understand the way King's set up her Holmes, etc. Also, their first meeting is priceless. The first book is THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, then A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN, and on from there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Okay, you evil evil temptress!

    I just spoke with the s.o. and he agreed with you.

    Off to get books... :sigh:




    heh, the hardship, I tells ya!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Strawberry Curls4:35 PM

    Wow, I loved this review almost as much as I loved "The Language of Bees."

    To anyone who is thinking about reading the Mary Russell Mysteries I and only say I'm jealous you have all these wonderful books to discover, savor and reread. They are my favorites, and I can read each of them again and again and still find new things, new nuances of plot and character to delight and intrigue me. Laurie R. King is one of the best writers out there. Enjoy!!

    --Alice

    ReplyDelete
  7. ALady, yay! All kinds of good things in store for you...

    Alice, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the review. Wouldn't it be awesome to get to read the first one for the first time again? They really are nuanced and delightful.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Angie's Best Books of 2022

  Somehow the end of the year is here. And we're all here. And I still feel like placing this post in this space. So I shall. With gratitude and a certain wistful hope. For us all. But especially for these books, the people that walk them, their words, and their creators. (listed in the order in which I read them) Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian You Were Made to Be Mine by Julie Anne Long Impossible by Sarah Lotz Book Lovers by Emily Henry Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher The Bodyguard by Katherine Center The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary Fire Season by K.D. Casey Husband Material by Alexis Hall Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood Lore Olympus, Vol. 3 by Rachel Smythe Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vol. 6 by Beth Brower Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots by Cat Sebastian Scattered Showers

Angie's 2023 Must Be Mine

  Begin as you mean to go on, they say. And so here are my most anticipated titles of 2023: And no covers on these yet, but I'm looking forward to them every bit as much: The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vol. 7 by Beth Brower Knockout by Sarah MacLean Ten Things That Never Happened by Alexis Hall Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian Diamond Ring by K.D. Casey The Gentleman's Gambit by Evie Dunmore What titles are on your list?

Bibliocrack Review | The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

 Hi. Hey. Hello there. It's been a . . . well, you know what it's been. We're all still living this together. So I will simply skip to the fact that I couldn't not review this book here. Because reading it was something special. I knew nothing about Ali Hazelwood 's debut novel except that it involved women in STEM and that the cover made me smile. I decided to set it aside for myself as a reward. Work has been . . . punishing . . . for the last year, and I have been so exhausted every hour of every day. And so I determined to buy The Love Hypothesis  on release day knowing nothing about it. But when I went to the bookstore to get my copy, none were available. In fact, none were available anywhere for love nor money, in store or online. At first I was moderately disappointed. Then I told myself maybe it's not that great after all and I didn't necessarily need to feel this preemptive sense of loss. But it kept gnawing at me. The loss. And so I paused work an