Review: The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King

The Language of Bees
Laurie R. King
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In the latest installment of the Holmes and Russell series, The Language of Bees the bees Holmes is raising in Sussex serve as both metaphor and counterpoint to the action-packed mystery. One of his hives is swarming, something bees apparently do when they suspect their keeper is not returning, and Mary is left alone with that problem, as Holmes as followed their latest client into London.

The nature of this story makes it impossible to review without minor spoilers. The client is question Holmes’ son, we are told, from an affair he had with Irene Adler during the years in which he was supposed to be dead. The mystery: the location of this grown son’s wife and small daughter.

Obviously there are tramps across wet moors, nights spent in boltholes with amenities (or a lack thereof) that are a far cry from the scale of a Riviera hotel – in fact, over the entire series both Holmes and Mary Russell have spent an inordinate amount of time being wet, dirty, cold, or hungry – conditions I normally object to reading about, but don’t mind in these stories in the slightest.

There is also familial angst (what if Holmes’ son murdered is family, what if Holmes’ loyalty is to the son he barely knows rather than Mary?) and a wild aeroplane flight to enhance the mystery.

Sadly, while the mystery is solved, at the end of the novel we are confronted with three words that the author says were meant to offer hope of another story, but which I always find frustrating: To be continued.

Goes well with hot tea and scones or crumpets followed by a hot bubble bath.

Bookish Meme

Whether you’re in the waiting room for your Manhattan Psychologist, Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon or Plano Cosmetic Dentist, chances are at least some of your wait time will be spent completing forms. Paperwork in the “real world” is annoying, but in a blog paperwork becomes a meme – a form we fill in for fun.

I found this meme at Boston Bibliophile‘s blog, and it seemed like a good way to kill some time between book reviews:

  1. Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback? I like them all. Hard cover books from favorite authors, mass market for books I plan to pass on or leave behind (on airplanes, for example), and trade paperbacks for reading almost anywhere.
  2. Barnes & Noble or Borders? Barnes & Noble, always, since my town doesn’t have an independent bookseller that isn’t a Christian bookstore. I’ve been to Borders, and I don’t like their pricing, their sales staff, or their cafe as well as B&N’s, though they sometimes have great events.
  3. Bookmark or dog-ear? With my own books? I am terrible out dog-earing pages, or using the flyleaf to mark a spot. I use bookmarks with books that don’t belong to me, though.
  4. Amazon or brick and mortar? Brick and mortar can’t be beat, even by Amazon’s convenience.
  5. Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? By author, unless there are multi-authors in a series. Certain books are filed in special places…writing how-tos and reference books, for example.
  6. Keep, throw away, or sell? Keep, give away, lend.
  7. Keep dust jacket or toss it? Keep.
  8. Read with dust jacket or remove it? Oh, on, definitely. See my bookmark entry.
  9. Short story or novel? Both, but I prefer novels.
  10. Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Harry Potter.
  11. Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? Wherever, but I usually read books in one sitting whenever possible.
  12. “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? It was a dark and stormy night – my favorite kind!
  13. Buy or borrow? Buy, mainly. Or get them for free from publishers, but I don’t borrow that often.
  14. New or used? New is preferred, but not always possible.
  15. Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations, or browse? All of the above, with an emphasis on browsing. I know what I like.
  16. Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Tidy ending, but it doesn’t have to be happy.
  17. Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? I have to choose? I read all the time.
  18. Stand-alone or series? I like both, equally, really.
  19. Favorite series? Holmes and Russell mysteries by Laurie R. King, but I’m a sucker for Nero Wolfe, too.
  20. Favorite children’s book? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
  21. Favorite YA book? The President’s Daughter, by Ellen Emerson White
  22. Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi
  23. Favorite books read last year? The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman, Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, and The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler, and The Fire, by Katherine Neville
  24. Favorite books of all time? Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, Certain Women, by Madeleine L’Engle, A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman, The Eight, by Katherine Neville, and so many more.
  25. What are you reading right now? Lulu in Marrakech
  26. What are you reading next? By Bread Alone
  27. Favorite book to recommend to an eleven-year-old? Harriet the Spy
  28. Favorite book to reread?The Eight
  29. Do you ever smell books? Not intentionally.
  30. Do you ever read Primary source documents? Rarely.