The teenage Sherlock Holmes is sent to live with an obscure relative for summer break. Although not pleased at all, the young man tries to make the best of it, and ends up making some new friends, learning valuable lessons from a tutor, and finding a dead body. As can be predicted, Master Holmes has not developed his keen methods of deduction quite yet, but with his natural intelligence, his friends, and a fair amount of luck, he manages to stay alive while in pursuit of the truth.
Rural life in mid-19th-century England is as much a part of the story as is the education of the future master detective. The author does a tremendous job of immersing the reader into a society with poor communications and downright strange pastimes. Unfortunately, that same level of illustration does not transfer to the characters to whom we are introduced throughout the narrative. Many of them are only superficially painted, even though they are clearly important to the flow of events, and offer clear foreshadowing of Holmes’ eventual future.
The mystery itself is pretty good, but there are pages and pages of chases, fights, physical attacks, etc., that honestly do not add anything to the plot, and become tiresome. Although I certainly did not expect to read about a young detective genius, I certainly did not expect the boy to perform so much repetitive physical activity. It was almost as though the author could think of nothing else to fill the pages.
The jacket indicates that another book is forthcoming, so it is possible that the story quality will improve with time.
Rated: None. Absolutely no foul language, but there is enough physical violence (including some killing) to make one think twice before handing it off to a very young reader.