If ever I actually meet the author of the Mary Russell books, I'm afraid it will prove embarrassing for me, for her, and for everyone within earshot: for there will be squeeing, and probably a glomp. The Beekeeper's Apprentice was the book that gave me the courage to be a writer. It showed me that a new character can hold her own against an icon. I'm thrilled with how well this book has stood the test of time for me. In fact, now that I'm more experienced in both life and writing, I found myself reading it with even greater enjoyment. I'm fascinated by the layered and juxtaposed relationships of mentor and student, parent and child and of lovers that exist between Holmes, Russell and the other characters both major and minor. I think one of the reasons that I love the Mary Russell novels despite never taking to the original Holmes stories is that Russell has a kind poetry in her narrative voice that I never really found in Watson's. For all the wonder Watson held for Holmes' abilities, it takes an equal to show the true grace in such a way of thinking.