This story focuses on the exploits of a gang of child detectives, mentioned in passing in the first of Conan Doyle’s mysteries. One dark and murky night, in the desolate alleys of London, street urchin Sam runs headlong into Holmes and Watson. This chance encounter sets the scene, introducing the various threads of the story.
Sam lives alone in the Docklands area, fending for himself as best he can. His only friend is Ann-li, who, one evening, reveals that her father is in dire trouble with the dreaded Dragon Clan, a band of Shanghai criminals. Shortly after this, she is abducted.
At the same time, Billy, a pageboy in the Holmes/Watson household, hopes to achieve fame by finding his master Sherlock Holmes, who has been missing for several days. Through a series of twists and turns, Sam and Billy – and an assortment of other young people – come together in a hunt for Ann-li. What follows is a fast-moving adventure pitting the young people’s courage and skills against evil.
The characters are wonderful and varied. Each develops unique talents and complements the other so that together they become a formidable gang. The story is gripping, steeped in a sinister atmosphere of swirling fog and palpable danger, and made all the more tense by the illustrations filled with deep shadow, unusual perspectives and figures looming large. This is an inspiring introduction to the mystery genre – and to its most famous detective duo.