The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective by Elizabeth Eulberg, illustrated by Matt Robertson
Shelby can solve any crime. But when she meets John Watson, Shelby finds the answer to a mystery that’s always puzzled her – friendship. Suddenly, New York’s prize pooch is stolen and Holmes and Watson are swept up in a dog-napping case that’ll take teamwork to solve!
John Watson has had a nomadic existence in life so far. His mother is an army doctor and changing military posts regularly has meant lots of moving. When they arrive at 221 Baker Street he’s looking forward to finally settling down somewhere for a change. However it’s not great as it might be – his parents have split up and he’s without his Dad. Thankfully, distraction comes in the shape of the tiny but terrifying Shelby Holmes, who makes herself known after a mishap with an explosive experiment in the apartment above the Watson’s! John is not sure what to make of Shelby, especially when she demonstrates her seemingly psychic deductive powers.
But being on your own in a new home is no fun. With his Mum at work and three weeks until he starts school, John finds himself drawn to this strange, rambunctious girl and soon he’s helping her investigate a serious case of dog-napping. Shelby has the perfect opportunity to put her amazing deductive powers to good use and find the missing dog. It soon becomes clear that John isn’t the only one who needs help; Shelby doesn’t have many friends of her own. John realises not only does he hope to help Shelby with the investigation, her can help her make friends too.
This is a fun and quirky mystery story inspired by the great Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Set in vibrant New York City, there’s a host of diverse characters from the pizzeria man to the pampered pooch Daisy! Our young hero is John Watson; a laid back thoughtful eleven year old and quite brave when it comes to meeting new people – but as he points out he’s had lots of practice! The heroine, Shelby Holmes, is a brilliant know-it-all nine year old and a little irritating at first; but you do warm to her when you realise she’s a just a very smart young girl struggling to fit in. Young readers will enjoy the dog-napping mystery focused on the wealthy Lacy family – who could have possibly stolen Daisy just before the most important Dog Show of the year?!
Supported by great illustrations throughout, the narrative gives a humorous nod to the original Holmes (“Seriously Watson? You think a real detective would wear a cap and smoke a pipe?!”). All in all Shelby Holmes is fun take on a classic, great for children aged 8+, that may well inspire new interest in the ‘real’ Mr Holmes himself!
With thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me this book to review.