The Language of Bees

The Language of Bees

Large Print - 2009
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In a case that will push their relationship to the breaking point, Mary Russell must help reverse the greatest failure of her legendary husband?s storied past?a painful and personal defeat that still has the power to sting? this time fatally. For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve--the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes?s beloved hives. But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from her husband?s past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the promising surrealist painter had been charged with--and exonerated from--murder. Now the talented and troubled young man was enlisting their help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child. When it comes to communal behavior, Russell has often observed that there are many kinds of madness. And before this case yields its shattering solution, she?ll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to a bizarre religious cult, from the demimonde of the Café Royal at the heart of Bohemian London to the dark secrets of a young woman?s past 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: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2009.
ISBN: 9781410416155
Branch Call Number: F Kin
Characteristics: 715 p. (large print) : map ; 23 cm.


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Jan 27, 2019

I meant to read in order but somehow skipped a few to get to this one. Just finished and requested the sequel so I don’t loose the thread of this tale.

Dec 08, 2018

Very disappointing. Story was ok. Characters were fairly described. I deplore books that end with ".... to be continued ". Many loose ends left dangling. If it is a good story,tie it up and the readers will come back for more.

Nov 19, 2018

Unfortunately, I read the sequel to "Language of Bees" before I read this one. So I was confused throughout more than half of that one. I normally read series in order, but "Language of Bees" was on hold when I needed it. That was too bad. Now, having read them in the right order I understand its successor, "The God of the Hive," much better. In "The Language of Bees," Russell has her second meeting with Holmes' son Damian Adler, and her first with his toddler daughter, Estelle. Damian comes to ask his father's help in finding Estelle, and her mother Yolanda, who have disappeared on Yolanda's religious quest, not for the first time. Damian's an up-and-coming Surrealist painter, capable of taking off himself at times to paint, but who loves his wife, and is besotted with his brilliant daughter. Damian wants to reconcile with his estranged father and his daughter, and the feeling is mutual. Holmes asks Mycroft's help in finding them, while Russell puts her efforts into finding the little girl. She also hunts down Yolanda. When she finds Estelle, she keeps her mother's fate from the child. So does Holmes, who has found Yolanda "caught up "in a strange religious cult. The Leader's moving around England, perhaps heading for the Orkney Islands, or maybe Norway. Mary finds a place to keep Estelle safe, while she takes a scary aeroplane ride north, in search of the Leader and Damian. She and Holmes meet up in the Orkneys, where they find the Leader, Damian, and Estelle. Things are "to be continued." No wonder I was confused at the beginning of "The God of the Hive." Definitely, read these two in the proper order--this one before "The God of the Hive." Then both of them will make sense!

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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