Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock (Canada) - (USA)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 3rd Case
Pages: 307 pages
Finished: June 26, 2010
First Published: Oct. 13, 2009
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, mystery, historical fiction
Irene Doyle gasps.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
This third entry into the series is not as dark or scary as the previous two and there are no dead bodies this time either but this mystery involving kidnapping and robbery is very clever and full of twists. Irene is back on the scene after an absence in the last book and is a welcome return. All the regular characters, including the new Mr. Bell, are also assembled and while of course there are some new characters involved in the plot the character development is all saved for the regulars.
A spoilt rich girl just home from three years in India, daughter of a Lord in politics, in kidnapped. A few months go by without a single word or trace of her then suddenly an anonymous tip tells of her location and she is rescued but the culprits have escaped. The family retires to the country to relax and immediately their home in the city is robbed, not just robbed but almost totally emptied of its contents and days later the daughter is caught again. Sherlock has been on the case from the beginning and has clues that have sent him the wrong direction. But not only does he have to solve this crime for his own pride before the police, there is also a little boy's life at stake that Irene is desperate to save and finding the missing girl is crucial.
Another page-turning, exciting mystery that I've come to expect from Shane Peacock. Peacock gives a nod to Holmesian fans by naming the missing girl's family the Rathbone's. Holmes character as a boy is really developing in this book towards the man we eventually will come to know. Up to and including this point he has been searching for cases to solve to show up Inspector Lestrade and prove himself to the police and the world that he is a genius detective. I haven't liked this aspect of the young Holmes as it runs contrary to the adult Holmes' confident arrogance. In this book young Sherlock comes to a realization about this aspect of his behaviour and changes. His relationship with the young Lestrade is also explored in this novel much further than it has been so far and we see the inklings of their future relationship. Malefactor has been a wild card up to this point and his true character is finally revealed in this book as well.
Vanishing Girl is a satisfying read for followers of the series as we get another clever, exciting mystery, set in an accurate historical portrayal this time concentrating on the contrast between life of a child in a poor orphanage and life as a neglected but spoilt rich girl. We also come to a major point in all the major characters' development that will affect their behaviour now in future volumes. I have book 4 in my line-up and am looking forward to it.