A thrilling twist on a classic. Readers will be pulled in by both the riveting mystery and Charlotte Holmes, a brilliant heroine with secrets of her own.
Fans of television’s Elementary and Sherlock will avidly devour this book...a joyous excuse to watch one of the literary world’s most beloved pairings come together.
Debut author Cavallaro brings Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuths (or their distant relatives, anyway) into the 21st century, casting Holmes as a brilliant young woman and Watson, who narrates, as her admirer and accomplice. Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are descendants of the famous crime-solving duo, each inheriting their forebears’ talents for deduction and bringing murderers to justice. They are students at a Connecticut boarding school, where someone is killing their classmates and framing the two of them as the culprits. Cavallaro gives Charlotte the cold, calculating persona of Holmeses ranging from Doyle’s original to the stars of shows like Sherlock and Elementary, including the tendency toward detailed deductions about people and a drug addiction. This Holmes was sexual assaulted by her now-murdered classmate, but Cavallaro uses the assault as a way to throw suspicion on Holmes as the possible murderer, sidestepping the seriousness of that crime in its own right. This aside, readers will find this to be an involving murder mystery, and a promising start to a planned trilogy. Ages 13–up. Agent: Lana Popovic, Chalberg & Sussman. (Mar.)
A thrilling twist on a classic. Readers will be pulled in by both the riveting mystery and Charlotte Holmes, a brilliant heroine with secrets of her own.”
Gr 9 Up—What if Sherlock Holmes's great-great-great-granddaughter went to boarding school with Dr. Watson's great-great-great-grandson? They might strike up a friendship as sophomores. Charlotte Holmes and James Watson do, at the money-conscious Sherringford, a prep school in Connecticut. Holmes (as she is known) has an analytical, antisocial bent and a bit of a drug problem. Watson, who narrates, has a short fuse and quickly becomes a suspect in a date rapist's murder. Together they begin an investigation, putting their inductive and deductive skills to the test. A familiarity with classic Arthur Conan Doyle tales is helpful, though most references are explained in the story. Both Holmes and Watson are prickly teenagers in a plot that includes poison, explosions, Moriarty's descendant, and a deadly virus. The case wraps up neatly, with the indication that Holmes and Watson will team up again in the near future. This novel presents a dark view of boarding school, with some drinking and other risqué behavior. Suggest to fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Raven Cycle" series (Scholastic). Slightly younger readers might try Colleen Gleason's "Stoker and Holmes" series (Chronicle), featuring Holmes's niece and Bram Stoker's sister. VERDICT An additional selection for most school libraries.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX
Watson's and Holmes' descendants try to live up to and with their ancestors' legacies in this debut. Stuck at Sherringford, a Connecticut boarding school, Londoner James Watson craves excitement, action, and romance. He tries to vent his rage on the rugby field during practice and hone his writing skills at night—emulating Dr. Watson but aiming to manage his money better—yet lives in hope of befriending classmate (and predestined companion) Charlotte Holmes. Like Sherlock, genius Charlotte plays violin, dabbles in disguises, conducts forensic experiments, and has a weakness for opiates. When a student turns up dead after harassing Holmes and fighting with Watson, and his death scene is staged like "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," Watson and Holmes become both suspects and detectives…and where there's a mystery, there might be Moriartys. While Watson wants to solve the case, he is equally absorbed in decoding enigmatic Charlotte, who is cunning, cruel, and fragile. Although death, drugs, rape, and betrayal make for a grim tale, slapstick humor and wit enliven the story. These sleuths may still be in school—and working out of a supply closet with smartphones—but Cavallaro's crackling dialogue, well-drawn characters, and complicated relationships make this feel like a seamless and sharp renewal of Doyle's series. An explosive mystery featuring a dynamic duo. (Mystery. 14-18)