Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud
Compelling and gripping story about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a fourteen-year-old boy. One of those unputdownable books that you have to finish in one sitting. Andrew Lane has, with the permission of the Conan Doyle Estate, come up with a surefire winner here. Everybody loves Sherlock Holmes stories so everyone will love the stories of the young Sherlock Holmes.
It is 1868 and, not yet having met Watson, Sherlock takes up with young street urchin Matty Arnatt. His closest relationship is with his brother, Mycroft, who works for the government in London. Their army officer father has been sent to India and their mother is ill, so Sherlock is removed from school and relocated to the estate of his aunt and uncle in Hampshire. It is here that he is assigned a tutor, Amyus Crowe, who begins to teach him the workings of logic and reason. The mystery begins with two unusual deaths and a black cloud that is seen nearby. A cast of heroes and villains follows, and the young Sherlock has to decide which is which. A convincing picture is painted of Victorian London, and the author cites some books some books he found useful in the final pages. In an afterword he indicates his inspiration for the story.
The author has taken the merest hints of an early life from the extant Conan Doyle stories and created a possible, and believable, scenario. Starting with an ordinary schoolboy we see how his experiences mould the character he later becomes. This promises to become an addictive series. For boys and girls of 10+. Highly recommended.