What if Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Arsene Lupin all met as children?
That's the question this series sets out to answer. Irene is 12 years oldWhat if Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Arsene Lupin all met as children?
That's the question this series sets out to answer. Irene is 12 years old in the summer of 1870, when she arrives with her mother and their butler (her father having stayed behind to conduct the business that keeps them in their lovely Paris home) in the seaside resort town of Saint-Malo. Her very first day there, she encounters a strange, skinny boy tucked up on top of the wall with a book. Irene, of course, isn't supposed to be wandering about town all by herself, but when the butler tries to fetch her home, she follows Sherlock to the harbor, where he and his friend Lupin take her in a "borrowed" boat to their regular spot, an abandoned manor house falling into ruins.
Their afternoon jaunt comes to a strange end, though, when they discover a dead body washed up on the beach. Since the official police seem to make no headway with the case, the three new friends take it upon themselves to investigate.
There are secret identities, clandestine criminal societies, fights, chases, and plenty of adventure packed into the story. Irene is a spirited character, smart and self-reliant, a girl just on the cusp of becoming a young lady and chafing at the constraints that role will place on her. It's easy to see her becoming The Woman of the "Scandal in Bohemia" one day. Holmes is also recognizably himself, only younger, though the clues given about his family situation are sometimes puzzling.
All in all, this is a fun mystery for young readers. I'm looking forward to seeing how some of the threads left dangling are picked up in future installments of the series. ...more
I would very much like to know why my mother named me "Enola," which, backwards, spells alone.
Synopsis: Enola receives three fourteenth birthday giftsI would very much like to know why my mother named me "Enola," which, backwards, spells alone.
Synopsis: Enola receives three fourteenth birthday gifts from her mother: a drawing kit, a copy of The Meanings of Flowers: Including Also Notes Upon the Messages Conveyed by Fans, Handkerchiefs, Sealing-Wax, and Postage Stamps, and a small hand-made book of ciphers. The same day, her mother vanishes without a trace, and Enola must contact her much older brothers in London - Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. Dismayed by the way the grounds of the estate (and Enola, in his opinion) have been left neglected, Mycroft makes plans to send his sister to boarding school for an education befitting a proper young lady of the late 1800s. Enola has no interest in such an education (or, for that matter, being a proper young lady), so she makes her own plan to escape to London and search for their mother on her own. As if eluding her brothers and keeping herself out of danger weren't enough, she quickly finds herself tangled up in the mystery of a missing young Lord as well.
Review: With a smart and feisty teen-age heroine, this historical mystery is a pretty easy sell. Enola's free-thinking ways stand out against her brothers' much more of-the-time views on women. The period as well as the varied settings are evoked with strong, carefully chosen details. My only complaint is the choice of "Marquess" for the missing boy's title, since that term is particularly confusing for American kids, but that's a bit of a nitpick. The very real dangers faced by a young girl (and a young boy) in London are portrayed in an age-appropriate yet suspenseful way. This first volume of six wraps up one mystery while leaving enough dangling ends to make the reader want to have the next volume handy.
Recommend to: Historical and mystery fans ages 8 and up.
Source: Checked out from my public library....more
"So I have been considering what kind of Englishman goes to America for a very short stay, carries a magnifying glass and a swordstick, and is well
"So I have been considering what kind of Englishman goes to America for a very short stay, carries a magnifying glass and a swordstick, and is well known to the New York police, and there was only one-" "Conclusion," finished Sherlock Holmes, nodding. "Yes, Arthur, there usually is."
In the seventh installment of Coren's Arthur series, young Arthur William Foskett is travelling alone on a transatlantic sailing, headed back to school in England. The early days of the voyage are plagued by bad weather, and most of the ship's passengers take refuge in their cabins, leaving the dining room to just Arthur and two other men, who turn out to be none other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. When the weather clears and the passengers re-emerge, there is a robbery on board. Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Foskett are both on the case. A charming, very funny mystery for young readers, with plenty of amusing references for those already familiar with Holmes....more
Please allow the SPFD to welcome you more formally. Go to The Dancing Men (if you're hungry, they make an excellent ploughman's lunch) and ask for aPlease allow the SPFD to welcome you more formally. Go to The Dancing Men (if you're hungry, they make an excellent ploughman's lunch) and ask for a saucer of milk for your snake. Then all will be revealed.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Xena is sitting on the front steps of a London hotel with her little brother, Xander, when a strange man presses a note into her hand. The kids barely have time to read the peculiar message before the ink disappears from the paper. Once they learn that "The Dancing Men" is a nearby pub (and that a "ploughman's lunch" is something they might actually like), they can't ignore their curiosity about it. The clever siblings might be a bit more curious than most, though, since they happen to be the American descendants of the famous Sherlock Holmes. After inheriting his casebook of unsolved problems, they quickly find themselves on the trail of a century-old mystery the Great Detective himself never solved.
Review: Barrett introduces a pair of protagonists with immediate appeal for young readers. Like any siblings, Xena and Xander occasionally bicker and even embarrass each other, but when push comes to shove, each has the other's back. Because they are American kids newly arrived in London, explanations of British culture and customs come up naturally in the narrative, rather than as awkward exposition for the reader. Nods to the original Sherlock Holmes stories are sprinkled throughout and sometimes explained (the saucer of milk for snake reference slips right by, but the Irregulars get a quick description). The mystery itself is very simple, and the characters never face any real danger or violence, making this a great selection for newly independent chapter-book readers as well as slightly older mystery fans. Once they've finished this quick-paced adventure, readers can continue to follow the Holmes siblings in three more series installments: The Beast of Blackslope, The Case that Time Forgot, and The Missing Heir.
Recommend to: Fans of mystery and adventure ages 8-12.
Source: Checked out from my public library....more
He steered toward the local park, down the storm drain shortcut he'd discovered yesterday, dodging broken glass and a man with a rabbit head, up theHe steered toward the local park, down the storm drain shortcut he'd discovered yesterday, dodging broken glass and a man with a rabbit head, up the embankment toward the gap in the fence, and -- was that a man with a rabbit head?
Synopsis: Life for Scott Doe has always been a little odd, from his full name (Scottish Play Doe) to his mom's new job with Goodco (what does a cereal company need with a physicist?) and the family's recent move to the company town of Goodborough. So, maybe he just should have expected to start seeing weird things, like a man with a rabbit head in the park.
Erno and Emily Utz have always lived in Goodborough, in the same house but with a series of foster parents. Their current foster father regularly gives them tests in the form of brain-teasing puzzles. (Emily always solves them first.) Erno has never really thought about the reason behind the tests, but he is just about to find out.
In the town of Goodborough, very little is really as it seems, and there are goings-on that (literally) the people don't see. Erno, Emily, and Scott are more important than they know, and there are forces at work that would love to keep them from discovering the truth about themselves, the town, and Goodco.
Review: Rex brings his trademark satiric sensibility to this fantasy mystery for the middle grades. From Scott's dad - John Doe - to the Goode and Harmliss Toasted Cereal Company to Merle Lynn (C.P.A.), the puns come fast and furious, along with delightfully twisted takes on cereal commercials, conspiracy theories, and Arthurian mythology. The shifting third-person perspective includes Scott, Erno, and an unnamed narrator who provides some background information and sometimes cracks just a bit too wise. When focused on the kid's-eye view, Rex excels; when he zooms out, the lighthearted wit gets bogged down. (In The True Meaning of Smekday, Tip's first-person "essay" narration keeps the story a bit more grounded, if I can use the word "grounded" in relation to a story of aliens coming to Earth and relocating the human population of North America to Florida.)
I thoroughly enjoyed trying to solve the riddles alongside Erno and Scott, although I wasn't quite clever enough. My e-ARC includes incomplete artwork (as did the paper ARC I thumbed through at ALA Midwinter), so I am looking forward to seeing the final product. The illustrations I could see were just the right complement to the text; I expect good things to come. There are even a few sneak peeks available at the author's blog (KoKoLumps, anyone?)! By the book's end, the immediate crisis has been solved, but there is a wide opening for the next volume in the planned trilogy.
On shelves February 7, 2012.
Final Word: Fantasy, mystery, and satirical humor all swirled together in a tasty treat for middle grade readers (and maybe some grown-ups, too).
In church of a Sunday when the parson preaches about the sins and failings of women, I would swear he gazes straight at me with a stern, disapprovingIn church of a Sunday when the parson preaches about the sins and failings of women, I would swear he gazes straight at me with a stern, disapproving look.
Patience Martin knows she is hardly the model of good behavior. But what incentive does she have? After her mother's death three years ago, her father bound her as a servant to the wealthy Mrs. Worth. Then her father died in the same shipwreck that left Mrs. Worth a widow in the middle of a difficult pregnancy. She has four long years to serve a woman who never has a kind word to say to her. Of course, things are about to get much, much worse. Mrs. Worth is found dead, and her brother-in-law plans to sell Patience off with no concern for her well-being. Patience takes her chance to run away, but soon learns that she is suspected of stealing Mrs. Worth's money, and there is a reward on her head. With the help of a smart young printer's apprentice, she just might save herself and bring the murderer to justice.
As in Wicked Will, MacDonald sets the scene with period details. Patience is a winning heroine - quick-witted and determined, clearly a girl ahead of her time. The young Ben Franklin is charming, depicted with just enough human faults to remind the reader that even such an American legend was once a teenage boy. Filled with humor and nods to historical events, this is a classic locked-room mystery for the younger set....more