This is the third book that I have read from this series, and like the other two, this is a fabulous read. I love the way that they connect to each other, yet can be read as stand alones. The characters behave as one would image the young Sherlock family would and it also picks up where later behaviour and characters evolve. The era is captured beautifully and the story just flows.
For those that haven't yet read any of these books, they tell the story of the Sherlock family growing up, and each has a mystery that the book revolves around, each develop the characters and traits that one day turn into Sherlock Holmes - the adult.
The mysteries are a real page turner too.
Ever wonder what a teenage Sherlock Holmes might have been like?
Get this book.
Liese Sherwood-Fabre does a wonderful job in describing the family. Father who is very much set on what is proper and what is not, depending on your standing in society. Mother a bit unconventional in multiple ways. She adores her sons and manages to get the three of them in and out of trouble. Mycroft the older brother a bit set in his own ways. He gets annoyed with his mother when she is trying to arrange his social agenda with future marriage possibilities. Like a lot of older brothers he gets sometimes frustrated with the 14 year old Sherlock. Last we have Sherlock who really thinks the world of his family. He is a bit afraid of getting his father angry with him. Not physically but what might result as a punishment. He hates to disappoint his mother and tries hard to please her and meet her expectations of him. Sherlock feelings towards his brother are a bit mixed. Sherlock admires Mycroft and tries to get his approval of his actions but also get frustrated and confused by some of his brothers attitudes. All together we see a loving family with minor problems where every person is rather a unique individual.
The Adventure of Deceased Scholar can be read by its own in the trilogy regarding the youth of Sherlock.
I've read the first two books, and it was like meeting old friends. I just read and felt being there, in London. Why ? Because of the consistency of the story telling.
Everything clicked into place so perfectly well that it does not feel like a story but like life unravelling and you, the reader, just a silent actor in the mystery. Everytime you will close the book, you'll be able to do some sleuthing of your own. The ending is not peaceful, the pace speeds up and action gets unnerving.
I can't wait to read Book 4 ! Book 3 is a book that will stay with me for a while, I just appreciated so much to follow my favorite characters caught up in solving a crime while at the same time reading so many details about Victorian England.
A masterpiece crafted with scientific precision !
It is a week before Easter and mother Holmes is in London with her 2 boys for the second half of ‘the Season’. When they go to attend the Oxford–Cambridge boat race, the body of one of Mycroft’s schoolmates is retrieved from the river. He hasn’t been seen since Thursday and his mother and sister were looking for him. As lord Surminster moves in higher circles than the Holmes’s, they’re not really acquainted but Mother volunteers to view the body together with the family’s butler. She quickly notices that several things indicate a murder rather than suicide. A verdict that the coroner favours. He is obviously not interested in what really happened to the victims. Of course, this is only the start of their involvement. When Father arrives in London, he’s not pleased with his wife’s interest in yet another murder, certainly not when Scotland Yard also gets involved.
This is already the third book in this series and they seem to get better and better. Don’t fret if you haven’t read those as this story stands on itself. It is just a pleasure to read them in order and get the background stories and family dynamics. This story is complex but well-constructed and suspenseful until the end. There are many mysterious elements that direct you into different directions; a mythical nun’s chest, border disputes, a contested will and a trust fund, vandalised maps, love letters from a French prostitute and more exciting riddles. I only found the solution near the end as well.
Young Sherlock gets introduced to a ‘night house’ (I love those euphemisms!) at the tender age of 14. Even his mother comes along, disguised as a man. This story and adventure is definitely a family affair, with Mother in charge and Mycroft and Sherlock as her runners. Each of them brings their own specific knowledge and strengths to their investigation. We miss uncle Ernest this time as he remained in the country. Father is very much opposed to their meddling in this inquiry but has to give in to his wife, eventually.
I was very pleased to see that Constance, one of my favourites, still lives with the family. She’s the personal maid of Mother who instructs her in more than just good manners and singing. She’s reading and writing now and dreams of performing on stage but has still a long way to go. It also gets more and more visible that there is a huge social gap between her station in life and Sherlock’s although they remain close friends. That the divisions between the different social classes were rigid can also be seen in other aspects of the story; between a lord and a mere squire or between a squire and an untitled barrister or attorney. One's class was so important that everybody could be identified easily by their clothes, shoes or transport.
Liese did some great research and keeps surprising me with exciting facts about and insight into life at the time. Certain opinions and social conventions of the period may be shocking and even offensive for our modern feelings. The fairer sex has to be protected from a lot of things because of their delicate nature, is just one example. The unconventional behaviour of their mother is subscribed to her French heritage and upbringing. That suicide was a great stigma and scandal for the family, I knew that as well as that the remains could not be buried in a churchyard. But the financial repercussions were e harder. All the assets from suicider did fall to the crown, leaving the family penniless. This was done to stop people from killing themselves as the wife and children would be left to charity from relatives and lose every chance to a good marriage. A strange fact is that burials would usually take place on the Sunday after one’s demise. I don’t know why but that’s now the only day that there are no funerals.
My goodness, what a joy to read this book! You know that excitement you feel upon discovering an author you click with? Well, that happened with me with this book. As a Sherlock Holmes fan I am thrilled to read about Sherlock and Mycroft as young men. The author is incredibly knowledgeable and an expert on the topic so envisioning them in this light is not a stretch.
Set at a boat race in 1868 London, the Holmes' sons and their mother (I love her!) are out enjoying the race. But what happens next takes their minds off the race as a dead man is discovered drowned. The morgue scene is marvelously done! Lord Surminster is slightly known to Mycroft and he and his mother and brother become involved. If the death is ruled a suicide his family will lose everything. Not only that but great shame comes with suicide in Victorian England when reputation and appearances are everything. And they only have a week to wade through deep waters to find the truth. That is not the only crime in this book, either. There is plenty of mayhem as well as wit. Lots of secrets. Mrs. Holmes' mind works cleverly and her method of meting out discipline is wonderful. Such fun being privy to the daily lives of the brilliant family, their staff and their characters.
Historical Fiction readers, do add this to your list! It is sharp, witty, charming, smart and delightful. The historical details really make it pop.