This series first caught my eye more than a decade ago, while I was living in Birmingham. I remember it quite clearly- attracted by the pipe-smoking woman on the cover, I picked a mass market edition up in the library, read the back and thought to myself, "Oh what an intriguing concept!" But the book I held in my hand was not the first in the series, and so I put it back. But I took note of what was the first book in the series: The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I'm not sure why I didn't hunt it down then and there. Perhaps I was getting an audio-book that day (back when I had a non-bike commute), or perhaps it was because, at that point in my life, I had not yet read any Sherlock Holmes*, and therefore didn't realize how much I craved exactly what it was offering. Whatever the reason, I did not search the first book out that day, although it stayed firmly implanted in my brain, to the point where I have thought back to it time and time again over the past ten-plus years.
Well, I finally got around to ordering it from my library.
And I devoured it.
And I've put the next two on hold. (That's the nice thing about waiting so long to actually get into a series- you get a lot more to read all at once.)
All in all, well worth the wait.
*It was actually a short story by Gaiman ("A Study in Emerald", found in Fragile Things) that finally prompted me to actually pick up a battered old collection of Sherlock Holmes while Nathan and I were traveling in the Southwest. I tore through it and was promptly aghast that it had taken me so many years to discover the glory. That Christmas, Nathan gifted me with a leather-bound copy of the complete collection. Best husbeast ever.