Like Nicholas Meyer in his adult Holmes spin-offs, Newman adds to the canon by enlarging on some of the lesser details and conveying the scene with spirit and style. Here Andrew Craigie, a boy uncertain of his background, arrives in London with his Cornwall guardian and stumbles upon several Baker Street children occupied with important errands. Meeting the Irregulars--Holmes' child messengers--is an instantly attractive device, and Newman has his unsuspecting youngster catching on quickly and surprising even Sherlock with his clever eye, canny role-playing, and impressive deductive skills. Moreover, because of a sizable network of seemingly unrelated strands--bombings, art forgeries, Andrew's obscured parentage, kidnapping, etc.--the outcome remains a mystery until Holmes ties it all together, skewering the criminals and finding a home for Andrew. Elementary? Not at all. Skillful apocrypha.