Secret Letters

Secret Letters

5.0 6
by Leah Scheier
     
 

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Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London

Overview

Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits-and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective-to save her cousin's reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.

Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel, now in paperback, heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After losing both parents, 16-year-old Dora finds a letter that reveals her real father was Sherlock Holmes. Dora determines to become a detective like him, but when a chance mystery involving her cousin takes her to London, she discovers that Holmes is dead. Though saddened, Dora is emboldened to prove the apple does not fall far from the tree. Soon, her cousin's rather benign mystery lands Dora in the middle of a much bigger one—the daughter of an earl has been kidnapped—and into the path of the handsome young detective Peter Cartwright, once apprenticed to her late father. Together, the two investigate the kidnapping, with Dora posing as a maid in the earl's house to gather clues. In a mystery with twists, the threat of danger, and a dramatic resolution, debut author Scheier offers a tenacious heroine determined to rise above the restrictions of her gender to claim her legacy. Upbeat, witty prose results in a fun beginning to what looks like the first of more adventures for this young pair of investigators. Ages 12–up. Agent: Irene Kraas, Kraas Literary Agency. (June)
VOYA - Susan Allen
Famous detective Sherlock Holmes's skill and cunning have obviously run through the family because, unbeknownst to him, his daughter, Dora, challenges the current detective stereotype by trying to become one herself. She and her cousin, Adelaide, venture to London trying to find Holmes in the hopes that he will catch the man who has been blackmailing Adelaide. Dora has her own secret agenda to meet Holmes and tell him that she is his daughter. Upon learning of Holmes's death, Dora accidentally meets Peter Cartwright, an apprentice detective who volunteers to help her find her cousin's blackmailer. Amidst twisting plots, multiple mysteries, and a budding romance, Dora and Peter work together to solve a mystery of a kidnapped lady; this in turn will lead to the blackmailer and clear Adelaide's good name. Dora must escape her aristocratic family to pursue her dreams of following in her father's footsteps. This volume is an engaging read that holds the reader's attention throughout. The multiple, interwoven mysteries create an engrossing reading experience. The characters are realistic, and their motives are believable. As a girl, Dora faces more challenges than a boy in her situation, and because of these obstacles she is a more compelling character. A story that involves young sleuths in complex investigations will bring in mystery readers; however, the setting in Victorian London with references to Sherlock Holmes could attract more than just the usual mystery readers. Reviewer: Susan Allen, with teen reviewers, Emily Ardalan, C
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Inquisitive and adventuresome, 16-year-old Dora wants desperately to escape the confines of her 1887 aristocratic life, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the famed Sherlock Holmes, whom she suspects is her biological father. When a cousin is blackmailed, Dora happily agrees to accompany her to London in hopes of enlisting Holmes to solve the case and also to verify his paternity. Her plans are dashed when she learns of Holmes's death; however, when an attractive 17-year-old detective, Peter Cartwright, invites her to assist him in searching for a kidnapped heiress, Dora jumps at the chance. Well-paced and filled with cliff-hanger chapter endings, Scheier's first novel is teeming with details of Victorian England that enrich both plot and character development and attest to the differences between those living "upstairs" and "downstairs." The restricted lives of women of both classes and the wholesale freedom allowed men are particularly underscored. Dora is a fully realized heroine who matures from being a dewy-eyed innocent into an observant assistant, relying on her wits and quick thinking. Peter is also well developed (if rather confident for one so young), and, although he is smitten by Dora's uniqueness, their story never descends into romantic claptrap. Difficult vocabulary is generally explained in context, and the tale is filled with aspects of criminology—code breaking, secret messages, disguises, trysts, kidnapping, and, of course, murder-that are sure to excite CSI fans. This novel, part-romance and part-detective story, begs for a sequel.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Kirkus Reviews
Sherlock Holmes' secret daughter goes on the case in this tepid Victorian whodunit. Twelve-year-old Dora Joyce learned of her illustrious parentage the night before her mother died of the same fever that had just killed the man she thought was her father. Now 16, the girl has been reared by her aunt, who despairs of her niece's unladylike tendency to "notice things." When her married cousin finds herself being blackmailed with letters written to a now-dead lover, Dora leaps at the opportunity to meet the famous detective. Alas, she arrives just after he has been killed fighting Moriarty, but Peter, the attractive young man who delivers this news on the doorstep of 221B Baker St., is himself a detective. A bit of eavesdropping in Peter's office quickly leads to Dora's involvement in a case that places her cousin's blackmailer at the heart of another mystery, that of the disappearance of a young gentlewoman. In the guise of a servant, she infiltrates (with credibility-straining ease) the country estate where the suspect works as a valet in the hopes of cracking both cases. The danger inherent in any Holmes-derived story is that it will not measure up to its inspiration, and this is the case here. Dora and Peter's frequent attempts to out-Holmes each other grow tiresome, as do Dora's embarrassingly swoontastic thoughts about Peter. Moreover, the third-degree burns she suffers impede her only when the narrative remembers them. Pass on this; revisit either the original or Nancy Springer's engaging tales of Sherlock's little sister Enola. (Historical mystery. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423127581
Publisher:
Disney Press
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
731,554
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 7.84(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range:
10 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Leah Scheier is a pediatrician who spends her free time writing, playing the violin, and volunteering. She, her husband, and three children divide their time between Maryland and Israel. This is her first novel.

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Secret Letters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much!!! It had the same wit and banter that the Sherlock Holmes novels all had, and you can tell the author really took the effort to make the novel pick up that same deductive edge. I thought that Dora is a great character who believes that she is Holmes' daughter and has worked for years honing her detective skills. The mystery really keeps you into the book and I always have loved books set in that time period in England. If you like mysteries and love a spunky girl who isnt afraid to go out on her own, this is the perfect book for you!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Secret Letters was an amazing and interesting book. I loved the Dora and Peter, and their conversations. The mystery was very interesting and had many twists especially in the end. This book had everthing I like in books interesting plot and character, mystery, England, and much more. I reallly realllly hope there will more books after this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SO GOOD! This story keeps you guessing and does not disappoint in any way! One of my favorite books. PLEASE do yourself a favor and get this book! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago