Wow, I learned a lot from this book. Telling the Bees, by Peggy Hesketh, is a work of fiction, however, it incorporates a lot of knowledge about bees and beekeeping. I learned more about bees while reading this mystery than I ever did in school.
Albert Honig is an old man, a beekeeper with the strangest neighbors imaginable. His newest neighbors believe that the electric lines over their house are responsible all the deaths in the neighborhood. They put up a cross, complete with the deceased’s name, every time someone dies.
One day he sees a name which makes him flashback to probably the worst day of his life, the day he found the Bee Ladies dead in their own living room. They had lived in the very house where the neighbors are now putting up crosses and blaming the electric wires for everything.
From this point forward the story is an interweaving of the far past, the near past, and the present. Peggy Hesketh very skillfully weaves the three together in a compelling story of friendship and loss. She drops hints without revealing the motivations of the characters until the end when the reader feels as bad as Albert.
It is not a happy read with a happy ending. It is still worth reading. There is a bit of language and one scene where Albert inadvertently witnesses lovemaking. It’s pretty obvious what is about to happen and easily skipped. It doesn’t affect the action to not actually read the scene.
If nothing else, you will learn a lot about bees and the way beehives work..