Monday, 12 July 2010

The Language of Bees

The 9th Mary Russell book, or alternatively, you could think of it as the first half of the 9th book as this one ends on a big TBC. I think the reason I held off on reading this one for a full year is because I had read that it was the first half of a two parter. Part two - The God in the Hive hit the UK bookshelves last week so I won't have any problems with forgetting half the plot in the interim.
Laurie R King doesn't disappoint very often and this is a very solid addition to the long running series. The last few books have been part of a globe trotting arc as Sherlock Holmes and Russell travel through Asia and America. If you are new to the series and can't get hold of the first book - 1994's The Beekeeper's Apprentice - then you could do worse than dipping your toe in the water with The Language of Bees. It's been nearly a half decade wait since the last book - the superb Locked Rooms from 2005, so there is a subtle element of a reboot here with Russell and her famous other half arriving back in Sussex and those canonical retirement plan bees. The arrival of a long lost son sends Holmes in search of a missing daughter-in-law and granddaughter, leaving Russell alone to contemplate a mystery within one of Sherlock's beehives. The author cleverly weaves bee mythology, psychology, symbolism and science throughout the twisty mysteries that wind through the southern English countryside, creaking under the weight of our Pagan monoliths and ancient sites of druidism. Add a cultural mix of Norse mythology and it's only fitting that the lead up to the deadly climax is preceded by a 'Valkyrie ride' north from London to the Orkney Islands aboard a rickety 1924 Bristol Tourer, piloted by a seemingly unreliable drunken pilot. Great stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book. I am going to put them on my reading list. Thanks Michael.