October 27, 2011

The Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 5th Case

by Shane Peacock
Tundra Books
220 pp.
Ages 10-14

When Shane Peacock declared on CBC Radio's Fresh Air show

(Mary Ito's CBC Fresh Air interview with Shane Peacock) 
that there would only be six cases in his The Boy Sherlock Holmes series, I should have paced my reading better.  After all, why race through The Dragon Turn, the most recent and supposedly (please can I convince you otherwise, Mr. Peacock?) second to last book in the series?  But, fool, fool, fool that I was, I read through it as quickly as my time allowed. (If you didn't limit yourself to only 6 books in the series, Mr. Peacock, I wouldn't have to berate myself.)

In this newest installment, Sherlock Holmes, now almost 16 years of age, continues to forge his investigative skills from his learning with the brilliant but slightly crazed apothecary, Sigerson Bell, but finds them strengthened and even compromised through his interactions with the lovely Miss Irene Doyle; with his ill father (who Sherlock has kept at arm's-length since his mother's murder); with family friend, Beatrice Leckie; and the police, specifically arrogant Inspector Lestrade and his son, Lestrade Junior.  Maturing into the talented but detached Holmes of Conan Doyle's is not a simple matter of growing up.

While escorting Miss Doyle to The Egyptian Theatre in London to witness the magic of "His Highness" Alistair Hemsworth, whose illusion includes the appearance of a dragon, Sherlock is drawn into a murder case in which Hemsworth is suspected. Apparently (there is very little evidence), Hemsworth's rival and better, The Wizard of Nottingham, has been murdered and evidence found at a secret workshop leased to His Highness, implicates him.  It seems rather simple to prove the man's innocence, as requested by Miss Doyle who hopes to audition for His Highness (she is a budding singer).  Too soon Sherlock realizes that it truly was too simple, and that his deductions have been orchestrated by others.  Consequently, compelled by his strong sense of justice, Sherlock pursues the case. 

If you haven't yet read the first four books in this series, treat yourself.

Eye of the Crow (Tundra, 2007)

Death in the Air (Tundra, 2008)

Vanishing Girl (Tundra, 2009)

The Secret Fiend (Tundra, 2010)

Visit Shane Peacock's website or The Boy Sherlock Holmes website

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