At the end of the fourth novel, "Fire Storm", Sherlock woke from a drugged sleep to find himself on board a ship bound for China. "Young Sherlock Holmes: Snake Bite" by Andrew Lane sees him separated from his friends and family, a stranger in a strange land, facing baffling mystery and deadly danger. Mr Lane somehow devises adventures for the youngster that sit comfortably within the precise period setting, that are suspenseful, thrilling and intelligent, and that credibly contribute towards the development of his character. It's no mean feat to write so convincingly of young Holmes in Shanghai, solving the problem of apparently impossible murders by snake venom, foiling a plot to destroy an American warship, learning oriental martial arts the hard way, and confronting one of the vilest criminals imaginable - and we can believe that all this contributes towards his becoming the man Dr Watson will later meet at Bart's Hospital. A cracking good read, as ever.