The novel begins with a dead man hanging out of an open bee hive, his corpse still being swarmed and stung, which I think should be a shock to anybody, but our apiarist/detective, Josiah Reynolds, seems more interested in her bees than in this dead human being, callously so--which makes me not like her from the start. She seems callous without cause, but I press on, hoping she'll show some redeeming qualities, but that doesn't happen, and I never learn to like her at all. She's self-centered and lacks empathy, and while I can overlook that in a character who's extraordinary in some way, Josiah simply isn't. There's nothing remarkable about her, nothing that makes me willing to overlook her unlikeable nature. She's a woman I wouldn't want to know in real life. In fact, not one of the main characters is likeable. The only two characters in the book who aren't mean are the dog and an old, arthritic man, but neither one of them is in here enough to make a difference. Jeez. The mystery, itself, is decent, but there's not a single main character in this book I can give a crap about.
Photo attribution Michael Gäbler