In this second entry in the series Sherlock Holmes, the Legend Begins, 14-year-old Sherlock, his tutor Crowe and Crowe’s daughter Virginia travel to the U.S. in 1868 to rescue friend Matty from an unexpectedly alive John Wilkes Booth and his gang. As in the first book, the writing is more thoughtful and challenging than most tween genre fiction, combining historical fiction and mystery to excellent effect. In fact, many readers will be motivated to read Doyle’s original stories, as this one helps pinpoint many of the characters’ traits; for example, Sherlock learns to play the violin while on board ship to the U.S. The narrative is exciting, filled with dialogue instead of long descriptions, and includes cinematic chase scenes and action. The chapter where Sherlock learns to solve a simple cipher would inspire a fun book club activity.
Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ, SLIS