The Secret Fiend: The Boy Sher­lock Holmes, His 4th Case

  • Review
By – September 1, 2011
In this nov­el, the fourth install­ment of a series by Shane Pea­cock, the teenage Sher­lock Holmes is called upon to help an old friend by solv­ing a mys­tery. It seems that the Spring Heeled Jack, a fic­tion­al char­ac­ter from pen­ny dread­fuls, has come to life to ter­ror­ize peo­ple in Lon­don. The fear that spreads through Lon­don is com­pound­ed by the unease brought on by the nation’s hav­ing its first Jew­ish-born prime min­is­ter. Holmes’ char­ac­ter­is­tic clev­er­ness helps him find the peo­ple respon­si­ble for caus­ing the may­hem. While the mys­tery itself involves polit­i­cal schem­ing that may be con­fus­ing to all but the savvi­est teens, read­ers of the Conan Doyle sto­ries will be intrigued by the back sto­ry Pea­cock cre­ates for the detec­tive. Occa­sion­al anachro­nis­tic lan­guage mars the text’s read­abil­i­ty, and the author’s sug­ges­tion that Holmes’s father was Jew­ish doesn’t ring true. Nonethe­less, read­ers, espe­cial­ly those already famil­iar with Holmes, will enjoy this orig­i­nal look at the cul­tur­al icon. Ages 12 – 16.
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

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