296. Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock

Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)
The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case

Pages: 245
Ages: 14
Finished: Oct. 30, 2012
First Published: Oct. 9, 2012
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, historical fiction, Victorian, 1870s, mystery, Sherlock Holmes
Rating: 3/5

First sentence: "London might as well be draped in black on this thirteenth morning of June in 1870.

Publisher's Summary: "The surprising and shocking conclusion to the unique BOY SHERLOCK HOLMES series.

Becoming Sherlock is the final book in Shane Peacock's award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series, combining brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, and a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature."

Acquired:  Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading:  Last book of the series!

It was a rather bittersweet feeling to picking up the last book in this series as I knew some finality would come so that Sherlock could go on to become the man he would be in the Doyle books.  Sherlock's future has already been written.  How would this gap between youth and manhood be handled?

The story concentrates on a passionately, deadly final head-to-head between Sherlock and his mortal enemy Malefactor, and his two henchmen: Grimsby and Crew.  While not working actively on cases at the time he stumbles upon information that Malefactor is up to something tremendously criminal that could infiltrate the government for years to come.  So he starts poking around and a murder is committed.  Knowing everything is connected to Malefactor and his henchmen Sherlock sets about to see them all caught and hanged for their murderous ways and treason.  Unfortunately, there really is no mystery here.  It is wits against wits, the various powerful characters against each other and the creepings and goings on late at night, but no real mystery for the reader.  We know what is going on.  At the end we are hit with a twist ending that while I didn't see it coming, I can't say it surprised me and I wonder at it's authenticity to the Sherlock Holmes cannon.  Would young Holmes do that?  Did he need to, to become the man Holmes?

On another level, his relationships are all wrapped up in this book.  He and Lestrade agree on how they will handle themselves from here on in.  He puts to rest his relations with Beatrice and Irene and they agree they are also of the past.  Sigerson Bell, his mentor, is ill but he finished his job properly before his time comes and he leaves Sherlock well looked after to continue his studies.  While Doyle himself never hints at this kind of a childhood, he is very vague.  I think Peacock has done a brilliant job of growing a boy into a man who turns out to be the character, both good (brilliant, sharp, imaginative) and not-so-good (addictive, rude, unsociable), that Sherlock Holmes is known to be to wider known adult readers.  Not my favourite book of the series, as the actual mystery was weak, but very good closure for the series.


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