Advertentie

Usually, I’m not a big fan of writers that use other author’s characters for their own stories but Sherlock Holmes is such an archetype in the English literature that many writers have had a go at putting their own stamp on the brand (with various degrees of success) let alone the multitude of movies and TV-series. I must say that this is one of the better attempts. The novelty here is that we meet an adolescent Sherlock who doesn’t have all his adult quirks but whose intellect should certainly not be underestimated. Some of his later characteristics shine through already as his dislike for social chitchat that he calls tedious and unproductive. And of course, his dear deerstalker cap makes his appearance as well, or is it the first of many caps?

This story takes place not long after 1865, as the end of the American civil war is mentioned as a recent event.
Sherlock Holmes has been only a few weeks at school in Eton when he’s called back home. On the train home, he meets his older brother Mycroft who’s also travelling home from Oxford. He tells him that their mother is in jail and accused of murdering their local midwife. She did find the body and had an argument with the woman a day earlier but maintains her innocence. It’s the victim’s husband who accuses her of this crime and the constable had no other choice but lock her up. His father, being a justice of the peace is temporarily suspended but can’t be involved with her defence as the slightest contact may be seen as interference.
Now the police have a suspect in custody, the family fears that they won’t put much effort in looking for the real killer. There’s no obvious motive as to why the mother would kill the midwife other than a dispute about herbal cures and remedies. Lady Holmes was locally known as a herb-wise woman who could provide teas and mixtures for various ailments or even to prevent pregnancies (a grave sin and crime in the eyes of moralists and religious zealots, almost as evil as providing abortions).
Her brother, uncle Ernest will act as his mother’s solicitor. She asks Sherlock to help her prove her innocence as she thinks that Mycroft her older son doesn’t have the character to go out of his way to collect all the necessary evidence or carry out a proper investigation. Nevertheless, he still is an asset by processing the information. Sherlock is about 13 at this moment so the situation is a bit unlikely but hell, this is fiction about fictious characters.
Ernest proves in a spectacular way that Mrs Brown was not stabbed to death with a pitchfork as was the accusation. The reluctant constable has to release Mrs Holmes but is fuming about being humiliated in court and vouches to have her back in gaol. The family name is still blemished and the smudge will remain in place until the real killer is apprehended. Every member of the family is helping to solve the case.

This is a very enjoyable light-hearted read about a familiar character in a slightly different role But it is very suspenseful with several deaths that can be natural but just as easily be murder. They must first establish who was killed, then how and why. The tension is kept up throughout the book. Every time you think aha, there’s another complication. The story is also quite funny at times when you encounter things that do reappear in the original stories.
At certain moments it is very clear that Sherlock is still a teenager i.e. when he gets hot and bothered from the illustrations of human reproductive organs in a medical study book. It makes him more human and cuter than in the original adult stories. I absolutely love the interaction between him and Constance. His first crush on a girl is simply delightful
Also beautiful is the obvious love for his mother, still more that of a younger boy than of an adult. He also becomes aware of the different levels and interactions in an adult relationship by observing his parents.
Uncle Ernest is another favourite of mine, he’s a bit of a mad scientist/inventor and a most adorable character.
Apart from the pleasant writing style, an engaging, sympathetic cast, suspense with a touch of first romance this is also a solid, well-constructed murder mystery. If there are more voUsually, I’m not a big fan of writers that use other author’s characters for their own stories but Sherlock Holmes is such an archetype in the English literature that many writers have had a go at putting their own stamp on the brand (with various degrees of success) let alone the multitude of movies and TV-series. I must say that this is one of the better attempts. The novelty here is that we meet an adolescent Sherlock who doesn’t have all his adult quirks but whose intellect should certainly not be underestimated. Some of his later characteristics shine through already as his dislike for social chitchat that he calls tedious and unproductive. And of course, his dear deerstalker cap makes his appearance as well, or is it the first of many caps?

This story takes place not long after 1865, as the end of the American civil war is mentioned as a recent event.
Sherlock Holmes has been only a few weeks at school in Eton when he’s called back home. On the train home, he meets his older brother Mycroft who’s also travelling home from Oxford. He tells him that their mother is in jail and accused of murdering their local midwife. She did find the body and had an argument with the woman a day earlier but maintains her innocence. It’s the victim’s husband who accuses her of this crime and the constable had no other choice but lock her up. His father, being a justice of the peace is temporarily suspended but can’t be involved with her defence as the slightest contact may be seen as interference.
Now the police have a suspect in custody, the family fears that they won’t put much effort in looking for the real killer. There’s no obvious motive as to why the mother would kill the midwife other than a dispute about herbal cures and remedies. Lady Holmes was locally known as a herb-wise woman who could provide teas and mixtures for various ailments or even to prevent pregnancies (a grave sin and crime in the eyes of moralists and religious zealots, almost as evil as providing abortions).
Her brother, uncle Ernest will act as his mother’s solicitor. She asks Sherlock to help her prove her innocence as she thinks that Mycroft her older son doesn’t have the character to go out of his way to collect all the necessary evidence or carry out a proper investigation. Nevertheless, he still is an asset by processing the information. Sherlock is about 13 at this moment so the situation is a bit unlikely but hell, this is fiction about fictious characters.
Ernest proves in a spectacular way that Mrs Brown was not stabbed to death with a pitchfork as was the accusation. The reluctant constable has to release Mrs Holmes but is fuming about being humiliated in court and vouches to have her back in gaol. The family name is still blemished and the smudge will remain in place until the real killer is apprehended. Every member of the family is helping to solve the case.

This is a very enjoyable light-hearted read about a familiar character in a slightly different role But it is very suspenseful with several deaths that can be natural but just as easily be murder. They must first establish who was killed, then how and why. The tension is kept up throughout the book. Every time you think aha, there’s another complication. The story is also quite funny at times when you encounter things that do reappear in the original stories.
At certain moments it is very clear that Sherlock is still a teenager i.e. when he gets hot and bothered from the illustrations of human reproductive organs in a medical study book. It makes him more human and cuter than in the original adult stories. I absolutely love the interaction between him and Constance. His first crush on a girl is simply delightful
Also beautiful is the obvious love for his mother, still more that of a younger boy than of an adult. He also becomes aware of the different levels and interactions in an adult relationship by observing his parents.
Uncle Ernest is another favourite of mine, he’s a bit of a mad scientist/inventor and a most adorable character.
Apart from the pleasant writing style, an engaging, sympathetic cast, suspense with a touch of first romance this is also a solid, well-constructed murder mystery. If there are more volumes in this series, I surely will read them.

Reacties op: Sherlock Holmes at 13

1
The Adventure of the Murdered Midwife - Liese Sherwood-Fabre
Jouw boekenplank Jouw waardering
Jouw recensie   Schrijf een recensie
? Onze partners