In this charming mystery/adventure mashup set in 1870, the boy Sherlock Holmes and two equally fictional friends, Irene Adler and Arsène Lupin, solve a puzzle involving a dead burglar and a stolen necklace.
Twelve-year-old Irene, far too adventurous and wild for a young lady of her station, is vacationing in the seaside resort of Saint-Malo with her stiff, disapproving mother and the family butler, Mr. Horatio Nelson. Despite his proper demeanor, Mr. Nelson is perceptive, unpredictable and surprisingly fond of his young charge. Irene, who narrates the story, immediately takes to Sherlock and Arsène—the three, although neatly differentiated, are well-matched in terms of determination, imagination and intelligence—and the story kicks into gear when they find a dead body washed up on the beach. The rest of this fast-paced, old-fashioned puzzler concerns their investigation: Who is this person, was his death murder or suicide, and is his demise connected in any way with the burglary of Lady Martigny’s diamond necklace and the so-called Rooftop Thief? Although there’s suspense, jeopardy and fisticuffs, the tone of this ingenious tale is coolly stimulating—it does a particularly deft job of explaining to young readers the importance of each revelation and how it fits into the larger picture—and will engage on an intellectual rather than an emotional level.
Enjoyable brainteaser with a period flavor. (Fiction. 8-13)