Is your child into reading mysteries? I was when I was a kid. Having been a fan of Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes growing up, I was delighted to see a book that incorporated the notorious Sherlock Holmes with a new character: 13-year-old Griffin Sharpe. The following is a brief description given of No Place Like Holmes, by Jason Lethcoe.
“The new resident in 221A Baker Street is about to give Sherlock Holmes a run for his magnifying glass!
When Griffin is sent to stay with his detective uncle at 221A Baker Street for the summer, he is certain that his uncle must be the great Sherlock Holmes! But Griffin is disappointed to discover that Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street and his uncle lives unit 221A. His uncle is a detective, just not a very good one. But when Griffin meets a woman with a case that Holmes has turned away for being too ridiculous, he and his uncle team up to help her. Along the way, Griffin shows his uncle just what it means to have true faith in God, even when the case challenges that. The woman claims that her husband was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster, but monsters aren’t real—or are they?”
As I mentioned before, mysteries were one of my favorite genres to read growing up. When seeing that this juvenile mystery story incorporated Sherlock Holmes into its plot, it struck my curiosity. Overall, I was pleased with the story, layout, the characters, etc. … however… I did not like the fact that it took the first 40 pages of the book to explain background information about the 2 main characters, Griffin Sharpe and his uncle Rupert Snodgrass and to get anything exciting to happen. Looking from a 4th or 5th grader’s perspective, I would not have continued reading the book because I would have become a bit bored and a bit tired of waiting for anything “good” to happen in the story to keep my interest in it. It (the story) just seemed to take too long to unfold. I do feel the author did a decent job giving examples of Griffin’s photographic memory and of how observant an individual he is, however, I don’t feel the excessiveness to which it was done was really necessary. Other than those few aspects, I did enjoy the mystery story itself. I also liked the mini-mysteries included in the back of the book that gave the reader a chance to make his/her own deductions and conclusions to little puzzles Griffin encounters after the original story.
I would recommend this book to any fourth or fifth grader who enjoys mysteries and problem solving, but would also go the extra step in warning him/her that the story takes a little while to really get interesting so s/he doesn’t get frustrated and stop reading after the first 20-30 pages. Once the reader can get past that, the story is worth reading. And the way the author, Jason Lethcoe, subtly incorporates hints of Griffin’s faith and how God could have a hand in some of the events that take place is an added bonus and done in a way that will not take away from or make the story seem “too religious or preachy” to a juvenile reader.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”