Recommended for ages 9-14
Written by Irene Adler herself, this middle-grade novel details the first time Irene Adler, a young American girl living abroad and vacationing with her mother in a French coastal town, meets Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Lupin. The three become quick friends; when a dead body washes up on the beach one morning, they decide to solve the mysteries surrounding the dead man: who was he? Was this a suicide or a murder, and why?
Woven into the story’s fabric is background information on Holmes and Adler, offering glimpses into life events that led to the adults they become. Adler lives with her mother and her butler, Horatio Nelson, who seems to double as a chaperone/bodyguard. Young Irene is headstrong and willful, seemingly at endless odds with her mother. Sherlock is a quiet, somewhat surly, brilliant boy who’s reticent to discuss his home life; he has an older brother and a younger sister that annoy him. Arsene Lupin, the son of an acrobat, is a reckless young man who has an eye for Irene, but may eventually find himself at odds with the great Sherlock Holmes.
I really enjoyed this story. Middle graders who have already begun studying Sherlock Holmes will enjoy seeing the character development written into this young, teenage Sherlock, and those unfamiliar with Holmes will doubtless enjoy this introduction, easing them into the great sleuth’s world. The writing is fun and accessible to younger readers, and the sets itself up for a potentially exciting continuing series. For starters, will we find out more about Lupin, who ends up being one of the most famous thieves in literature? Will we meet a young Moriarty? A young Lestrade or Watson? And will we find out more about Irene Adler’s parents, who seem very secretive about something to do with Irene?
Jacopo Bruno’s Victorian-type illustrations add a Holmesian feel to each chapter, setting a mood for the reader.
I love the pairing of the world’s greatest detective with the world’s best gentleman thief as teenagers – I can’t wait to see where this series is going to go.
The Capstone Kids site should be getting a minisite up soon, but I didn’t see anything on Sherlock, Lupin and Me at the moment.