The Great Shelby Holmes may have finally met her match in this humorous sequel to Elizabeth Eulberg’s fresh twist on Sherlock Holmes.
Being friends with a super sleuth isn’t easy, especially when she’s nine years old and four feet tall, and full of attitude. But for eleven-year-old aspiring writer John Watson, being friends with Shelby Holmes is just the adventure he’s looking for.
In the few weeks since moving to Harlem with his mom, Shelby has been training John in the art of observation-a skill that comes in handy on the first day of school. John’s new teacher, Mr. Crosby, is acting suspiciously, and Shelby knows this is a mystery worth investigating. But as Shelby and John dig deeper, they discover that there may be someone unexpected involved–someone who may have Shelby beat.
I’m admittedly a big fan of Holmes from his incarnation under the adept hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the various iterations that have dotted across literary and media history throughout the years.
This variant is one of the cuter ones and definitely perfect for the younger generation coming up in a world that is daring to go beyond the long held beliefs on gender.
Eulberg, in her second book of this series, turned Holmes into a girl who is so smart (obviously) she’s been moved up a couple of grades in school where she meets a new sidekick and seemingly only friend – Watson. Like his predecessor Dr. John this young child is responsible for narrating the life of Holmes so we can be clued in to how she operates in the world. In this story we even get to meet the infamous Moriarty in the form of yet another gender different character.
The fun and ingenious ways she uses deductive reasoning is on full display complete with the detached, almost borderline rudeness, of the classic Holmes personality.
Unlike Elementary, Sherlock or other current iterations of the original Holmes character this one is much more appropriate for the younger audience when it comes to level of mystery, character interaction, and dialogue.
My only complaint is that unlike all the other books, tv shows or movies I’ve read/watched this version of the Holmes’ personality came off on the irritating side.
As egotistical as the character of Holmes could be there was always something endearing that made you feel impressed by his abilities and wishing he was real because maybe our crime rate would decrease, lol.
Shelby just comes off egotistical without the endearing quality as if she has this constant need to show off her intellect and prove she’s superior to everyone around her. I don’t think it has anything to do with her being a kid because recently I read The Baker Street Peculiars, The Baker Street Four and Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries which all use kids as their focus. Plus I grew up with Encyclopedia Brown.
My issue with her character is more than likely not going to be shared by children who have had as much exposure to Holmes variations the way I have so I wouldn’t let my opinion on that sway you away from this book. It’s so hard to find decent material for kids of this age range you should definitely give yours a chance with this.
If you haven’t read the first I wouldn’t be too worried about it because it fits very well as a standalone.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for allowing me to review this book.
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com
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