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.