It’s summer time! That means summer reading! Here was one of my beach reads so far.
Summary: Sherlock Holmes, famous detective, was not always a master of deduction. As a 14 year old, he had much to learn. In the summer of 1868, Sherlock is ready to spend the summer holidays with his family. But, with his father off fighting in the wars, his mother and sister ill, and his brother Mycroft working for the government, he is shipped off to spend the holidays with a distant, and strange, aunt and uncle. Their large house is occupied only by the incessant mumbling of his aunt, the silent scholarship of his uncle, and the constant, sinister care of the housekeeper. It was not the summer Sherlock had hoped for.
But, when two local men die from a mysterious illness that resembles the plague, Sherlock knows he has a case. With the help of his American tutor—Amyus Crowe—and a small group of friends, Sherlock’s path toward famous detective begins.
What I liked
This was the first book written with the consent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consent, which is a big deal. It was a fun read. It had good pacing, it had classic Holmes deduction, and while also showing his human side. Sherlock wasn’t born the perfect detective, he had to learn—just like all of us. He is also awkward, unsure of himself, a little bit of an outsider. This story softens and humanizes Sherlock. It also does a fairly good job of foreshadowing the growth that would bring the reader to know the classic character—addictions and all.
The mystery was fun, it was fairly well-explained, and made sense. It was also somewhat creepy, which is an important element that I look for in mysteries. The villain was wonderful. The imagery used to describe him definitely sent chills through me.
What I didn’t like
Sometimes I got a bit bogged down in the scientific explanations about how and why the conflict was happening; though, I suppose this is a true homage to the writing style of the original Sherlock Holmes stories—since I remember getting bogged down with explanations in those as well. Luckily, those passages were few and far between.
The only other complaint that I had isn’t really a complaint: Sherlock undergoes a fair bit of torture and violence at the hands of the main villain. To me, this just puts the book into an older age grouping, or at least into the category of a more mature reader—or one who isn’t easily offended or squeamish.
Overall, this book was great fun, and part of a series of young Sherlock novels. I haven’t read any of the other ones (yet), but I am seriously considering picking them up!