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  • More of this, please!

    This book is set 3 months after the events in the first one, so still 1865. It’s advent time and the Holmes family home is full of visitors. - Mr Moto: a Japanese baritsu instructor - Aunt Iris: Mr Holmes younger sister - Trevor: her 7-year-old son - Miss Bowen: Trevor’s governess - Colonel Herbert Williams: uncle Ernest’s friend from India - Miss Meredith: niece of the colonel - Chanda: Indian princess posing as a maid And even more are expected. Sherlock has to move out of his own bedroom and shares the nursery with his young cousin. At first, he finds Trevor rather annoying because he tags along all the time and never shuts up. But as time goes by, he notices that the boy is a keen observer and gets attached to him, he even becomes protective of him. Mycroft is also home from Oxford and shows an infatuation with Miss Meredith that breaches all etiquette. A man that’s dressed as a gipsy is found murdered in the stables but they can’t determine what exactly killed him and no-one admits to knowing the man. Of course, this is just the start of the adventure. There’s espionage, more violence and murder to deal with. Despite his father’s wish to leave the case to the police, Sherlock and his mother have little faith in the abilities of the local constable and start investigating. When one of their guests is arrested, solving the murders becomes once again a family effort. This book builds further on the events in the previous one, but I think it can perfectly be read as a standalone. It’s just that the family mechanics and overall relations from the first story continue in this narrative I was happy to see that Sherlock’s friendship with Constance is still going strong, although he feels that a change in their relationship is imminent. After the holidays he’ll depart for Eton again and Sherlock’s mother intends to train Constance as a lady’s maid what will define their roles as gentry and servant stronger. The author does respect the social conventions and boundaries as well as the etiquette of the time. It’s made very clear what is expected from both sons, each in their own role; Mycroft has very little choice as the heir and Sherlock as the second son has a little bit more freedom but well within limits. The different social classes were strongly defined and to err from one’s station in life was almost impossible. It’s not that the writer endorses or favours those standards. She simply states the facts as they historically are. “The prince and the servant girl” are nice fairy tales but also no more than that as they’re completely impossible in real life. She hints though that both Sherlock, as well as his mother, may have more liberal opinions due to her French heritage. This etiquette includes the very formal manner in which you address a person as well as topics that are considered fit to discuss in a civil company (I.e. when there are women present). Sherlock is the main protagonist, but without his mother’s support, he couldn’t do half of the things he does. Despite being 13, she treats him as an adult and discusses various theories and lines of enquiry with him. It’s very clear where his later genius in mystery-solving originates. Although he’s from his father’s side of the family, young Trevor possesses qualities in that direction. Early on in the book, I was suspicious of someone, although I didn’t see a motive. Of course, I can’t say who, but I turned out to be right this time. I thank the author for a free ARC of this book; this is my honest, unbiased review of it. (less)

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  • Enjoyable Mystery

    1867 Thirteen year old Sherlock Holmes' life at Underbyrne is at first disrupted by guests of his Uncle Ernest, and then a discovery of a body in the stables. Are these guests what they seem, is there any connection to the body, will there be more attacks. Sherlock investigates with help from various members of the family. An entertaining and well-written historical mystery with its cast of likeable and well described characters, which can easily be read as a standalone story. A good addition to the series

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