Gr 4-7-- Shortly after 12-year-old Xena and her younger brother Xander move with their parents to London from Florida, they discover that they are the direct descendents of Sherlock Holmes and they receive his notebook of unsolved cases in this first title (Holt, 2008) in the series by Tracy Barrett. The youngsters are determined to try to solve a case, and settle on one involving a long-missing portrait by the artist Nigel Batheson. There is an exhibit of his work scheduled to open at a local museum, so the children feel a connection to the case. Following one clue after another, as well as some miscues, the siblings use their particular talents of exceptional memory and observation to find a solution. Likeable characters, an intriguing premise, and references to original Sherlock Holmes stories combine for a fun telling. David Pittu does a laudable job reading the tale and has an excellent sense of timing. He gives each character a unique voice and brings the various personalities to life. An enjoyable beginning to a new series.--Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library, UT[Page 74]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-7-- Detective stories derived from the adventures of Sherlock Holmes are well represented in juvenile literature from Donald Sobol's "Encyclopedia Brown" series to Nancy Springer's "Enola Holmes" mysteries. Welcome 12-year-old Xena Holmes and her brother, Xander, Sherlock's great-great-great grandchildren, newly arrived in London from Florida. They are playing a favorite game, guessing people's occupation by appearance, in front of their hotel when a strange man delivers a note written in disappearing ink directing them to the Dancing Men Pub. There, through a set of tests, their famous relative is revealed to them, and they are given his "Unsolved Cases" notebook. Xena, intrigued by it, soon finds a case with modern relevance--a missing portrait by Nigel Batheson, whose other works are being displayed in a nearby gallery. The siblings are off and running through a plot laced with references to the original stories and using similar devices, including a red herring. The main characters are observant, bright, and gifted with powers of deduction. Watson's great-great-great grandson, Andrew, is integral to the plot. Some clues seem to be obvious, but they can lead to a wrong conclusion. A well-paced beginning to a new series.--Kathryn Kosiorek, formerly at Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH[Page 134]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.