Russell is a brilliant 15-year old American living in Sussex after the death of her family in a brutal car accident. There she meets the retired Sherlock Holmes. He sees her potential and recognizes a kindred spirit and begins to train her in his detective methods. Eventually they become partners and she brings him out of retirement and solidifies their friendship.
The series starts with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice set in 1915 and goes on through subsequent volumes, the most recent published in 2012 set in the mid-1920s. The time period is well-researched and comes alive and the character’s friendship is fun to watch as it grows and shifts.
That said, I read the first book a couple of years ago and didn’t fall in love with it. I thought the premise was fun but I felt like there was a lot going on. Several story lines were squashed together and years and years pass and I just sort of lost focus. But someone encouraged me to give it another shot and since they all happen to be on the Nook away I went!
There’s a lot of women’s lib themes (though it fits the time period, the fight for the vote and such) and religious themes (King is a theologian herself and she’s written Russell as Jewish and also a theologian who graduates from Oxford, so that also fits) in each story but sometimes I just want a little more variety. I’m only up to the sixth volume so maybe things will evolve as the time period does but so far, not so much.
That sounds like an overall negative review, and honestly it’s not. I enjoy the books I’m just not racing through them and clamoring to get to the next one. They’re fun mysteries and definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and honestly, who isn’t these days? (Personally I enjoy the BBC series, Sherlock though I've only seen the first season. And I really like the series Elementary which I've been able to stream and keep current on all the way around the world. What's your favorite incarnation?)