The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent . . .
The Death Cloud is the first in a series of novels in which the iconic detective is reimagined as a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager – creating unputdownable detective adventures that remain true to the spirit of the original books.The author, Mr. Andrew Lane has gotten the approval of several prominent people who protect Sir. Author Conan Doyle's works to create this fiction. It shows that he did his homework. We meet Sherlock as a 14 year old inquisitive boy who seems to have a knack for being in trouble. His father is called away by the Royal Army and his mother and sister are not doing well at home. Mycroft, his older brother, has found him a place at his uncle and aunt's estate whom he had never met. He tries to be good by doing nothing but count the seconds to the end of his forced imprisonment with surly and unattentive family. Of course, with a track record like Sherlock, trouble finds him like a bee to honey (pun intended). A vagabond by the name of Matty finds him and tells him a strange story of a black cloud that killed a man. He wants to get to the bottom of things since he likes the town and figures Sherlock is just smart enough to get all the answers. And while Sherlock investigates we see the beginnings of his deductive logic and an introduction to his biggest mentor, Amyus Crowe.
There are actually several mysteries going on within this book. First, there is the main mystery of the death cloud. What it is to who is behind it and also why are spread out like a puzzle within the book. We also wonder what the housekeeper has got against Sherlock, exactly what Mycroft does for a living, and if Matty could be the indomitable Watson? Some of these questions are answered and some are left to weave themselves within the other books of this series. You'll be glad to know that the main mystery is solved like all good Doyle mysteries the precedes this one. So, no cliffhanger, but an open invitation at the end to join Sherlock in his next adventure.
I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves a YA mystery. You will enjoy this one.
I received this ARC from the publisher and no compensation has been given.