Holmes. Sherlock Holmes.

Posted: August 6, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I just finished a “young Sherlock Holmes” novel that was as action-packed as a James Bond story. Did the reserved, pipe-smoking, violin-playing genius detective live dangerously as a teen? According to author Andrew Lane, in a novel endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate, the answer is yes.

Death Cloud

Deadly, my dear Watson

In Death Cloud, we meet 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes as he’s sent to spend the summer with distant relatives. While trying to make the best of his summer, Holmes meets Matty Arnatt, another young man, who was witness to a strange murder. Another death follows, and before you can say “magnifying glass,” Holmes is involved in chases through the streets of London, multiple fistfights, falls in love, rides horses, speaks French, and fights enemies that are as dark and twisted as what you might have seen in a Hitchcock movie. He acts with the courage of the plucky teen hero that he is. The good news is, the book keeps to the spirit of Holmes as a man. Young Sherlock uses observation and deduction to solve the mystery, and constantly uses his wits to get himself out of tight spots. Without spoiling the story: it all works, and works well.

I’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes story or novel. I suck at mysteries, and would have no chance at solving a murder in real life. I watch mysteries for the “Wow!” factor at the end of the story when they tie everything together, as my brain becomes a gumbo of what-if scenarios that are miles away from the mark.

After reading this, I’m curious to pick up the original stories and see if I enjoy them. The story is leavened with more than a dash of teenage rebellion, which isn’t how I imagined Holmes, but there’s a deep respect for the Great Detective and the period. The characters are likable, and I feel a little guilty saying that I especially the villains. They really enjoy being bad. It’s easy to make a mean villain, but it’s hard to make one that’s fun to read.


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