Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ARC Review: No Place Like Holmes by Justin Lethcoe

No Place Like Holmes
Author: Jason Lethcoe
Publication: Thomas Nelson (May 10, 2011)

Description: The new resident in 221A Baker Street is about to give Sherlock Holmes a run for his magnifying glass!

When Griffin is sent to stay with his detective uncle at 221A Baker Street for the summer, he is certain that his uncle must be the great Sherlock Holmes! But Griffin is disappointed to discover that Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street and his uncle lives unit 221A. His uncle is a detective, just not a very good one. But when Griffin meets a woman with a case that Holmes has turned away for being too ridiculous, he and his uncle team up to help her. Along the way, Griffin shows his uncle just what it means to have true faith in God, even when the case challenges that. The woman claims that her husband was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster, but monsters aren't real-or are they?

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this middle grade historical mystery. Young Griffin comes to visit his uncle in London for the summer. He has never met him but, when he finds that he lives at 221 Baker Street, he believes that his uncle will be Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, his uncle Rupert Snodgrass lives at 221 A Baker Street and is an unsuccessful private investigator. Sherlock Holmes lives at 221 B Baker Street. Not only is his uncle unsuccessful but he didn't know that Griffin was coming. He had been throwing away his sister's letters because he thought they were from bill collectors.

I felt so sorry for Griffin. He was a genius with a photographic memory who was disliked at school because he always knew all the answers and couldn't help blurting out. He was bullied and beaten up by his schoolmates. He can't help being observant but he knows that it isn't helping him make friends. The situation gets even worse when he arrives at his uncle's because his uncle is very unwelcoming.

The case involves the disappearance of a clockmaker who appears to have been eaten by a monster. The case also involves stolen Chinese fireworks, dastardly villains and a complex plot. The enemy in this one is the nephew of Professor Moriarty who was Sherlock Holmes' great nemesis.

I especially enjoyed the many inventions that Griffin's Uncle created. It was funny that he included his name in each of them. His metallic butler named Watts was a great idea. The inventions gave the book a sort of steampunk flavor too.

I also liked the way the relationship between Griffin and his uncle changed during the course of the story. His uncle softened up nicely toward Griffin as the story went on.

I recommend this story to middle grade mystery lovers. Griffin is an engaging and entertaining character. Young readers may also be interested in visiting Jason Lethcoe's blog -- noplacelikeholmes.blogspot.com -- for further information about The World's Most Secret Detective.

Favorite Quote:
The other children hated him for being the teacher's pet. Answers to questions seemed to pop into his head before the schoolmaster had even finished asking them, and it was hard for Griffin to contain his excitement when he saw the solution to a problem. That never went over well with his classmates.

Griffin had the bruises to prove it.
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley. You can purchase it at Amazon as a paperback or for your Kindle.

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