Sherlock Holmes is Inspector Mantis; Dr. Watson is Dr. Hopper; and all the villains and victims in these five archly amusing tales (each modeled on a specific Conan Doyle original) are insects--even if Kotzwinkle blithely allows them to be thoroughly anthropomorphic, complete with fingertips, fingerprints, and footprints. In the opener, Mantis and the violin-playing, popcorn-addicted Hopper (a rather meaningless switch) investigate the disappearance of Miss Juliana Butterfly, a circus bareback rider--discovering her in the literal clutches of an evil tarantula. The silliest caper involves that secret data about ""the highest workings in the Admiralty,"" with the coded information having been eaten by hapless Professor Booklouse. (The spy turns out to be Adrian C. Gallgnat.) Then there's poor Charlie Fungus-beetle, who pinches the sacred idol of the Termites (a caterpillar's head) and gets eaten--forcing Inspector M. to look into Termite rites. And instead of a Baskerville hound there's a headless monster--though the solution here involves a Sad war-casualty rather than skulduggery. (The monster always appears to the faraway tune of ""Lily-Beetle Marlene."") Winding up with a stolen crown and a moth who impersonates a hornet: a stylish curiosity for Baker Street fanatics, richly illustrated by the witty/creepy Joe Servello--but the inventive insectile whimsy (except for a few snazzy gags) seems better-suited to precocious children than most mystery-reading adults.