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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 12 up.
The year is 1867; the place, London; the thirteen-year-old loner, Sherlock Holmes. Because his mother, a beautiful, formerly wealthy would-be opera singer, and his father, a brilliant Jewish scientist and bird-lover, eloped, the three are reduced to living in poverty: From a distance Sherlock appears elegant. Up close he looks frayed. Therefore, despite his staggering intelligence and keen powers of observation, Sherlock sees little hope for his future. Then one night a murder is committed and his entire life begins to change. The alleged murderer is soon caught: a young, defenseless Arab who proclaims his innocence to one person out of a huge crowd: Sherlock. For a reason later revealed, Sherlock believes him and determines to prove his innocence by finding the real killer. This decision has numerous consequences, from Sherlock himself landing in and hatching a nifty escape plan from prison, to placing his friends and family in jeopardy. Although he does ultimately solve the crime, the resulting sacrifice is almost unbearable. Peopled with a memorable cast of characters and written in a rich, compelling style, this first in the "Boy Sherlock Holmes" series will leave readers waiting anxiously for the next book. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner