Sherlock Holmes, just thirteen, is a misfit. His highborn mother is the daughter of an aristocratic family, his father a poor Jew. Their marriage flouts tradition and makes them social pariahs in the London of the 1860s; and their son, Sherlock, bears the burden of their rebellion. Friendless, bullied at school, he belongs nowhere and has only his wits to help him make his way.
But what wits they are! His keen powers of observation are already apparent, though he is still a boy. He loves to amuse himself by constructing histories from the smallest detail for everyone he meets. Partly for fun, he focuses his attention on a sensational murder to see if he can solve it. But his game turns deadly serious when he finds himself the accused -- and in London, they hang boys of thirteen.
Shane Peacock has created a boy who bears all the seeds of the character who has mesmerized millions: the relentless eye, the sense of justice, and the complex ego. The boy Sherlock Holmes is a fascinating character who is sure to become a fast favorite with young readers everywhere.
Part of the Random House of Canada October Sale
Gr 5-9-Solitary and brooding, 13-year-old Sherlock Holmes prefers observing street life in 1860s London to attending school, and is skilled at appraising people. He's frustrated by his family's strained financial circumstances and the social prejudice that limits his future. His mother, once a wealthy socialite, married a poor Jewish scholar and was disowned by her parents. His brilliant father has been forced to take a job training birds at The Crystal Palace, and his urging Sherlock to become whatever he wishes seems hollow. The boy becomes obsessed with a gruesome murder, an interest that eventually lands him in jail as an accomplice to the primary suspect. There, he's visited by Irene Doyle, a young philanthropist who becomes his crime-solving partner. To prove his innocence, Sherlock makes a daring escape and sets about solving the crime. The details of the plot are plausible, the pacing well timed, and the historical setting vividly depicted. Past advice from Sherlock's father steers his thinking as he gathers clues and employs deductive processes. The titular crow comes fascinatingly into play, as Sherlock imagines himself as one of the birds that were the only witnesses to the crime. Inspector Lestrade and his son are introduced, as is Malefactor, a gang leader with a mysterious past who is Sherlock's intellectual equal and worthy opponent. On balance, the characters enrich the book and help give Holmes's storied abilities credence. The tragic death of his mother paves the way for his future pursuit of justice.-Sheila Fiscus, Our Lady of Peace School, Erie, PA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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August 22, 2007
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