Shuffled off to stay during school holiday with relatives he's never met, Sherlock is not a happy young man. However, strange occurences near his uncle's country home soon pique his interest, and his new American tutor teaches him observation skills that bring the fourteen-year-old much closer to evildoers than any of them want.
With Father just posted to India, Mother suddenly unwell, and older brother Mycroft working in London, it's just not possible for Sherlock to go home over the 1868 school break as he'd so anticipated. But to be forced to stay with a pious aunt and an eccentric uncle who has hired a tutor for him when just wants to ramble the woods and think!
Luckily, Mr. Crowe is an untraditional tutor, skipping over Latin verbs to show Sherlock how to carefully observe the world around him, skills that serve him well when they find a dead man at the edge of Uncle's land, a man with boils all over his skin. Recently, another man in town had died with such marks on him said his new pal Matty, who spoke of black smoke which went into the dead man's room - is it the plague?
Many townspeople work making uniforms for the British Army as hostilities against the French heat up, and the mysterious Baron has arrived to inspect his warehouses in Farnham. Sherlock discovers that both dead men had worked at the factory, Mr. Crowe's daughter Virginia decides she won't be left out, and the three teens scout for more clues in this threatening puzzle.
Did the yellow powder found near both men cause their deaths?
Does the Baron's visit have anything to do with this?
Why is the Holmes' housekeeper suddenly trying to keep Sherlock indoors?
Wild inventions and political intrigue are just some of the dangers that Sherlock, Matty, and Virginia must face as they race to prevent more deaths in this first book of the Young Sherlock Holmes series, fully authorized by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.com
In the first book of The Legend Begins series we meet 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes and see his life as a teenager. Sherlock is looking forward to spending his summer vacation at home with his family after a difficult term at school. His dad is unexpectedly called to India, his mother is sick and his brother Mycroft has too much work to take care of him so he is shipped off to distant relatives he has never met for the summer. Not looking forward to his summer he tries to adapt to life at his Uncle and Aunts house. He becomes friends with a village ruffian, and his brother Mycroft sets him up with an American tutor in hopes of keeping him out of trouble. But then two local people die from what resembles the plague but Sherlock suspects they were murdered. A strange black cloud was seen rising in the air after each death. Amyus Crowe his American tutor teaches Sherlock how to watch, listen and learn everything you can about what is going on around you. He taught Sherlock how to use his powers of deduction. But when the murderer figures out that Sherlock knows who he is, Sherlock finds himself kidnapped twice and trying to save not just his life but the life of his friend Matty and his tutor Amyus Crowe and his daughter Virginia. A little slow to start but the action picks up and then it ends with a thrill packed conclusion. A great introduction to Sherlock and his life as a detective. 330 pages Ages 11-14
Recommended by: Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho, USA