The Maniac Collector's Inbox
The Sherlock Files: The 100-Year-Old Secret
My daughter, Kelly, is a good librarian. She makes sure her library has the most up-to-date editions of the Canon plus she keep her fingers on the pulse of other Sherlockian related books that are available. One such book is The Sherlock Files: The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett. Kelly ordered a copy for her library and a copy for me. This was my birthday present from her and I decided I am not above reading a book even though it was written with the fourth grade reader in mind.
The Sherlock Files: The 100-Year-Old Secret. By Tracy Barrett. 158 p. Henry Holt. 2008. $15.95. ISBN 0-8050-8440-5.
The Sherlockian world has long lamented that those playing The Game are not getting younger and plenty of the younger generation are not interested in reading books, especially books that do not have an on-off switch. Here is a book that just might be able to spark the interest in a younger audience. This is the first book in a series that features American sister and brother Xena and Xander Holmes. They have recently moved to London with their parents. One day, outside of the hotel where they were staying, twelve-year-old Xena is passed a note by a stranger. As soon as she and her brother read the message, it mysteriously disappears. Thanks to Xander's photographic memory, they are able to follow the note's instructions. They soon find themselves at a gathering of the Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives. To their surprise, Xena and Xander find out they are the great-great-great-great grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes! As luck would have it, Dr. Watson's same number of greats-grandson also happens to be there.
Xena and Xander are given a notebook full of information about the unsolved cases of Sherlock Holmes. They set out to solve the case of a painting by a reclusive British painter. At the time, Holmes abandons the case to pursue the events of the Lion's Mane.
For the older, mature Sherlockian, this book may not be your cup of tea but if there is a fourth or fifth grader around, this should be a fun. There is enough real Sherlockian to prick their interest to learn more; there are enough real-life issues that they will relate to; and enough of a mystery to them turning the pages until the very end.
I used to write Mini-Reviews for The Holmes & Watson Report. These were fun little bits I enjoyed doing. I always tried to capture the gist of a book in a few succinct sentences. Here is a Mini-Review of The Sherlock Files: The 100-Year-Old Secret:
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