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Knife Edge (Young Sherlock Holmes) Paperback – Unabridged, 19 Jun 2014
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There's nothing elementary about this excellent series which puts an exciting and youthful spin on an old-fashioned hero. (Lancashire Evening Post)
An enjoyable and fun read. (booksteensandmagazines.com)
This is an extremely good story which will appeal equally to male and female readers thanks to its clever mix of derring-do, intelligent reasoning and the confusions of young love, and it is bound to enthral many young people and encourage them to seek out the original stories. (thebookbag.co.uk)
The world’s most famous detective. The most brilliant mind in fiction. But before he became the great detective, who was young Sherlock Holmes? The sixth book in a series of mystery adventures featuring a teenage Sherlock and endorsed by the Conan Doyle Estate.See all Product description
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Mycroft is on a mission for the British Government and is tasked with investigating the bona fides of a supposed psychic named Ambrose Albano who is currently holed up in Cloon Ard Castle, home of Sir Shadrach Quintillan. Quintillan intends to run an auction in which representatives of various international powers will be able to bid for the opportunity to have Albano use his psychic powers exclusively for the benefit of their government. Mycroft has been sent to Ireland to act as the British representative at the auction but first he is tasked with ascertaining whether Ambrose Albano is actually the legitimate, powerful psychic that he claims to be. It is for this investigation that Mycroft hopes to make use of his brother Sherlock's noted skills at rational deduction.
Knife Edge has all the action and fiendish puzzles that fans of the Young Sherlock Holmes series have come to expect and enjoy. As a young man Sherlock is not yet quite the logician that he will become but he still has a keen eye for detail, a healthy scepticism and a knack for getting straight to the root of a problem. Sherlock is really the ideal assistant for Mycroft as he attempts to discover the truth behind Ambrose Albano's claims of mystic powers and tries to assess the action that his fellow international representatives will take in the matter. As ever, the potential villains that Sherlock faces are a clever, tricksy bunch and so Andrew Lane's descriptions of their battles of wits are both thrilling and intriguing. While it's clear that both Mycroft and Sherlock are sceptical about the whole psychic biz from the beginning their investigative process and the manner in which Lane reveals the clues means that it's surprisingly difficult to reach a solid conclusion about Albano until quite a way into the book.
It's also not just dubious psychics that Sherlock has to face: there are rumours that a Beast has been seen stalking the grounds of Cloon Ard Castle and when a maid is found dead the servants are convinced that the Beast must be responsible. And, as if potentially malevolent mentalists and mythical beasts weren't bad enough, Sherlock also has to figure out what's afoot in the love triangle that he has somehow ended up in. Virginia Crowe may have ended their nascent relationship with a Dear John letter after Sherlock was kidnapped during the events of Snake Bite [a pretty harsh move that echoes forward into some of Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes stories] but she's still distinctly on the interested side. That's only half of Sherlock's women trouble though as Shadrach Quintillan's daughter Niamh also seems to very much enjoy Sherlock's company. Despite all this, there's no need to worry that Sherlock might be getting soppy, he's still far more cerebral than emotional and much more likely to get lost in a good mystery than in a romantic entanglement.
Knife Edge is another thrilling adventure for young Sherlock Holmes that speeds along at breakneck pace as the [soon-to-be] great detective attempts to outsmart the multifarious villains and discover exactly what is going on at Cloon Ard Castle. There's plenty of action and danger as well as mental puzzles and more than a few laughs involved in Sherlock's investigation and so Knife Edge really is an excellent read.
This time, and slightly unusually for the series, the story isn’t set up against a backdrop of factual historical events. Instead the old gang is based at a spooky old castle in Ireland, with smugglers’ caves, a one-eyed psychic who appears to have the ability to communicate with the dead, and a mysterious Dark Beast that inhabits the mists. With that set of ingredients it is simply not possible for an adventure story to go wrong.
Knife Edge is great fun. The villains are villainous, the mysteries are mysterious, and the tight plot sweeps you along whilst leaving just enough time for a budding detective to be able to join in. That sense of satisfaction when you can get to an answer faster than Sherlock is tough to beat.
Andrew Lane has said that he had fun writing the book because it reminds him of the Enid Blyton Famous Five stories that he used to read as a kid. The spirit of adventure in Knife Edge beautifully recalls the atmosphere of Blyton’s stories (though there is perhaps a tad more peril and murder in this). And of course, as with all good mysteries, both confirm the idea that if everyone thinks about the problem logically then the answer, however improbable, will be revealed. Sherlock would probably give the lashings and lashings of ginger beer a miss though.
Great escapism and once again, faithful to the Conan Doyle cannon.
Sherlock is growing up and the narrative deals with this with insight, compassion and humour.
Andrew Lane seems to be able to explain where all of the adult Sherlock Holmes' history, experiences and skills came from. I know now for sure he is a real historical person!
I thoroughly recommend this book and roll on the next one!
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