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Could do better
on 19 September 2013
Am I being unfair when I suspect that Andrew Lane would have felt more comfortable writing about the young James Bond? He couldn't do that, of course, because it has already been done (rather well). So he opted for Sherlock Holmes, but gave the fourteen-year-old Holmes a Bond type story. The trouble is that Holmes is not Bond.
And nineteenth century characters would not have used the sort of dialogue common in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This book, however, makes no attempt to use Victorian dialogue. Sherlock expresses his pleasure by exclaiming "great". He and other youngsters are described as "kids" (admittedly there are Americans in the story). No one reading the book could possibly be convinced that it is really set in the 1860s.
There is an early attempt at a Holmes type deduction, something to do with which carriage Mycroft (Sherlock's older brother) used to visit him at school. But it is very weak and Lane sensibly makes no further effort of that sort.
But the story is rather fun (though I should warn you it becomes more and more far fetched). You also need to know that there is a surprising amount of sadistic violence (of the sort you would expect in Bond but not in Holmes). But that is understandable. Lane is writing for a modern teenage readership and he is probably right to assume that that readership will give up if people are not being constantly slaughtered or beaten to a pulp.
This was a missed opportunity. The young Holmes could have been much more realistically and amusingly depicted. But I shan't give up. I am going to have a go at the second book. If it is very similar to this one I will probably skip to the sixth and latest just to see whether Lane has finally got it right.