Conan Doyle’s classic characters are reimagined as pupils of the Baker Street Academy in this original new series for children. It’s an ideal vehicle with which to introduce young readers to the classic detective genre.
Naturally, the story is told from John Watson’s perspective, beginning with his first few days at his new school. Though James Moriarty makes it a little difficult for John to settle in, he soon finds friends in Martha Hudson and her enigmatic pal, Sherlock.
John spends plenty of time getting to know his new chums, exploring Martha’s loft and finding deerstalker caps and long cloaks! He also introduces us to many new characters (including Baskerville the dog) who are likely to feature in the book’s sequels. When this lengthy, albeit necessary, scene-setting is complete, the children take a trip to a museum, where a precious diamond vanishes in pleasingly mysterious circumstances. The game is afoot!
Sam Hearn’s characters maintain many endearing qualities of Conan Doyle’s originals. Watson’s tone is warm and conspiratorial and Sherlock has an arrogant yet disarming manner, insisting on keeping his brilliant deductions a secret until it’s time for the big reveal! However, the story also feels progressive and innovative. Watson’s burgeoning career as a writer is visible as blog posts, detective notes and school assignments that provide great variation to the text. Much of the story is also told through lively, comic strip illustrations and witty speech bubbles. This mixed media approach feels modern and exciting, like scrolling through an Internet game. By borrowing just the right amount from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, Sam Hearn has found a successful formula for this new sleuth series. Many young readers will be eager to uncover the next mystery from Baker Street Academy.