Sunday, February 5, 2012

No Place Like Holmes

What do clues, clocks and the Loch Ness monster have in common? They all play a prominent role in Jason Lethcoe's mystery, No Place Like Holmes. When Griffin Sharpe is sent to spend the summer with his mysterious uncle who lives on Baker Street in London, he hopes his uncle will turn out to be famous Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, Griffin is disappointed. His uncle turns out be a bitter, resentful second-rate detective who constantly competes with next-door neighbor, Sherlock Holmes.

Despite Griffin's disappointment, he determines to make the best of his situation. He has grown up in a Christian home, and hopes if he shows his uncle God's love, his uncle won't mind having him for the summer. Soon, Griffin and his uncle find themselves in the middle of a mystery. A distraught woman comes to them with a wild tale. Her husband has disappeared, and witnesses have told her he was swallowed by the Loch Ness monster.

Griffin's pleasant, personable demeanor, and quick thinking soon make an impression on his uncle. Finally, Griffin's uncle allows him to help solve the mystery. As their lives are threatened by a criminal mastermind, tunnels under the River Thames, and alarming inventions, Griffin and his uncle realize they share a common bond. PLOT SPOILER AHEAD: By the end of the book, they have solved the mystery, reconciled with Sherlock Holmes, and become friends.

The book also includes two mini-mysteries for readers to solve on their own, a set of questions to test your own powers of observation, a detective game suggestion, and the recipe for Griffin's favorite scones!

What I Like: Everything! This is a well-written, clever book, full of action and suspense. Fans of detective books and mysteries will enjoy trying to solve the case with Griffin, and other readers will simply enjoy the fast-paced adventure.

I love the seamless way Lethcoe has of blending an intelligent detective story with Christian principles of grace and reconciliation. Griffin is a positive role model, without being preachy or unrealistic.

The ending is satisfying, but I am excited to join Griffin and his uncle on their next adventure!

What I Dislike: I have two very minor complaints. First, I wish the cover wouldn't have used a photograph. The boy in the photo is adorable, with a clever smile and blue eyes, but he looks young. I am afraid the picture will turn off older readers, and girls, who may enjoy the book just as much as boys the same age as the cover model.

I also wish a map of London in the 20th century was included.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: 8-14

Publisher Info: Thomas Nelson, 2011; ISBN: 978-1-4003-1721-9; Paperback, 207 pages, $9.99

Buy it Now at for $8.19

OR Buy it at for $9.99.

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