First published in 2016
Book 1 in the Charlotte Holmes series
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
Image from Goodreads
The Short Of It:
A fun modern-day take on a Sherlockian detective story, featuring Holmes and Watson's descendants. A little slow to start, but good enough that I'll check out the next book in the series.
The Long Of It:
I'm not a huge fan of young adult fiction, but I am a huge fan of all things Sherlock Holmes, so I was more than happy to give "A Study in Charlotte," the first in a new teen mystery series, a try. It features Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, the great-great-great-grandchildren of the original Holmes and Watson.
The two wind up at the same Connecticut boarding school and unite in friendship and crime-solving pursuits when a murder at their school frames them as the obvious suspects. Of course, nothing is as it first appears -- and a Moriarty or two may or may not be involved.
I found the first installment of Cavallaro's series to be a bit slow and it took me about 250 pages to actually become gripped by the story. The problem, I think, was that she spent too much time introducing us to the characters and didn't dole out enough information on the mystery at hand. The fun part of a detective novel is trying to solve the crime alongside the sleuths, but Cavallaro took for-ev-er to actually give the reader any clues to even attempt to suss out the culprit and the reason behind the crimes.
Luckily, I really liked both Charlotte (typical grouchy, uncompassionate, brilliant, opiate-addicted genius) and Jamie (kind, patient, thoughtful writer and sidekick). And I also appreciated that Cavallaro paid homage to other original elements, like a slightly pudgy, extremely powerful older brother named Milo (i.e. Mycroft) and a fussy, warm and protective boarding school house mother named Mrs. Dunham (i.e. Mrs. Hudson). Plus the writing was adequate and the mystery did become intriguing toward the end.
While I felt so-so about "A Study in Charlotte," I'll definitely read the next book in the series with high hopes for a more engrossing mystery. Now that readers are acquainted with the modern Holmes and Sherlock, Cavallaro can get right to the good stuff.
Fun quote: "When I caught her taking twenty minutes to eat a single almond, I began wondering if there was some kind of Watsonian guide for the care and keeping of Holmeses." (Turns out there is!)