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DEATH CLOUD by Andrew Lane

DEATH CLOUD

From the Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins series, volume 1

By Andrew Lane

Age Range: 13 - 17

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-38767-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This first in a new series about Sherlock Holmes as a teenager finds the dismayed hero taken by his brother Mycroft to stay with a stuffy uncle in the country for his summer school holiday. Sherlock and his orphaned friend, Matty, probe two strange deaths associated with the appearance of a mysterious cloud. One of the strengths of this book is the immediacy of action—beginning chapters don’t weigh readers down with details but introduce necessary clues and facts woven skillfully into the text. After the scene is thoroughly set, the plot takes off like a rocket, constantly building suspense to a shockingly violent climax and over-the-top conclusion in which justice prevails over evil. The main characters are well drawn, but the villains are underdeveloped caricatures whose evil is unmitigated by human qualities. A rollicking good read, this book will offer a solid introduction to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for younger teens. It also offers enjoyable insight into how Sherlock Holmes became the future investigative wizard for established fans of the ultimate detective. (Mystery/suspense. 13-17)