Title: Telling the Bees
Author: Peggy Hesketh
Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Penguin/ Putnam
Source: Edelweiss and Amazon Vine
Date Completed: April - 2013
Tell the Bees was a different type of debut novel. It felt like part mystery and part "Intro to Beekeeping."
Honig is an elderly, 80-something man who has lived his whole life in
the same place. Raised on this very farm country of orange groves in
California, his life has not been about people, it's been about bees and
He's a man who has been content with his life of
routine, tending the bees, staring at the sky at night and everything
that is simple and uncomplicated. Yet as I read more and more about
Arthur, I could see he seemed very judgmental of others which seemed
odd for someone who never interacted much with people.
Arthur realizes that he hasn't seen his neighbors, Claire and Hilda
Straussman in some time. He goes next door to check on them and finds
their door unlocked, no response to his voice, so he walks inside their
home. They are both dead, apparently murdered and so he calls the
Investigating the deaths is Detective Grayson who seems
to be losing his patience with Arthur. Arthur is not being very helpful
when he's asked direct questions, which makes him look a little
The patient reader, through earlier memories of
Arthur, will learn about his 70 year friendship with sisters Claire and
Hilda, as well as information about their murders. For a man who seemed
to be such a loner, he knew quite a bit more about the women than one
I read that this story was a fictionalize account
of real life events, and although the story was more about the people
than it was about the actual murder, I found it to be a well written
debut. Each chapter begins with a blurb about bees or beekeeping, when
introduces the events that follow. I definitely learned something about
bees and beekeeping, but probably more than I needed to know.
A good story that moved along at a decent pace.