I’ve finished my homework for the mystery part of the genre study that I’m participating in. It was quite fun in spite of the Dennis Lehane book. I wish I had more time to read more of the subgenres, but I think I’m going to have to move on to the next genre. I really enjoyed the two books that I read on my own – Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I’ve already talked about the Franklin book a little and it was a little on the gross side for my taste, but it wasn’t in your face all of the time, so I was able to enjoy the book. The historical description was great and I loved reading about early forensics. Both books had strong female protagonists which I enjoy. Adelia, the Mistress, is intellectual and passionate, but a reluctant detective. Mary Russell, the Apprentice to none other than Sherlock Holmes, is a budding super sleuth. I particularly enjoyed the Beekeeper’s Apprentice partly because it was more what I had in mind when I was thinking mystery. Mary Russell stumbles, quite literally, on to a retired Sherlock Holmes in the Sussex Downs. An unlikely pair, the two manage to become inseperable and Holmes teaches Russell the tricks of the trade. It is wonderful to watch Mary Russell grow and come into her own as well as how she shapes Holmes. They are both stubborn, but she somehow manages to bring out an unexpected, but realistic tenderness in him. Both books are the first in a series and I can see how people get hooked on these. I think it’s all about the characters.