Shadow of Evil (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith
|Shadow of Evil (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: The Baker Street Irregulars are instrumental in foiling another of Moriarty's plots and meet Queen Victoria in the third book in a vivid, pacy and wonderfully big-hearted series. Equally attractive to boys and girls of late primary age.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: October 2009|
If ever Victorian England needed the Baker Street Irregulars, it's now. The great Sherlock Holmes is dead - drowned at sea whilst attempting to foil one of Professor Moriarty's evil plans. More ships are likely to be sabotaged and the shipping owners are up in arms. To make matters worse, Queen Victoria's granddaughter has been kidnapped. Would-be clients are queuing up at 221b Baker Street, but Dr Watson is having to turn them away. And the more Sam Wiggins sees, the more he's convinced that all the various shenanigans are related to one another. If only Holmes were there to tell him exactly how. But he isn't, and the only people who are around are children.
Not any children though: they're the Baker Street Irregulars.
You really can't help but love these stories by Tim Pigott-Smith. Everyone enjoys a crime caper and everybody knows all about Sherlock Holmes. The great detective plays only a supporting role though - Pigott-Smith is writing all about the children. In a way, it's very much like Charlie Higson writing about 007 as a teenager. We take familiar characters, themes and settings and we introduce child characters to take centre stage in the action. Pigott-Smith does it amazingly well: his Holmes is as obnoxious as ever and his Watson as kindly; his plots are full of red herrings that aren't so fishy as never to be grasped; his junior heroes are properly heroic but they're ordinary too.
It's pacy and mysterious and vivid and accessible - everything a good mystery for children should be. The historical setting is accurate and never laboured. If I had a tiny nitpick to make, I'd say that occasionally the Victorian Cockney sparrow dialogue grates a little, but only a little. Otherwise these are highly satisfying books with a wide-ranging appeal. Parents of junior crime and history fans should definitely consider buying Shadow of Evil and if I were a school librarian I'd put it on my list.
My thanks to the nice people at Hodder for sending the book.
There's more Victorian crimebusting in The Haunting of Nathaniel Wolfe by Brian Keaney, this time with a slightly supernatural edge. If they still want more, try The Doomsday Machine: Another Astounding Adventure of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb.
You can read more book reviews or buy Shadow of Evil (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Shadow of Evil (Baker Street Mysteries) by Tim Pigott-Smith at Amazon.com.
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