The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

Posted September 1, 2016 by shooting in Uncategorized / 22 Comments

The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

Review by Lauren

source: copy from BEA16; all opinions are my own (this book comes out next Tuesday, September 6th!!)

Official SummaryShelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes. 

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. Easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack. 

ReviewThis is the first book by Elizabeth Eulberg that I’ve read but it most definitely won’t be my last, especially since this is just the first book in the Shelby Holmes series. I’m a big Sherlock fan so I always get excited to see new interpretations and this was a really enjoyable one! 

Sherlock is now Shelby, a nine year old girl in New York who is known for her detection around the neighborhood. She doesn’t have friends, but people know her and admire her skills, except for the policewoman, Lestrade. It did amuse me when Shelby would interact with Lestrade. Shelby is a typical Holmes because she’s straightforward and knows she’s good at what she does. Having a nine year old act like this to a cop would seem strange, but Eulberg did a good job with their relationship. Lestrade is intent on keeping Shelby away from her cases, and it’s obvious that she’s upset when Shelby can solve a case before her, as any copy would be, I’m sure. 

Another key player of course is John Watson, who Shelby just calls Watson. I initially went in expecting Shelby to narrate the book, as she’s the title character, but of course, I should have realized it would be Watson based on the original stories. Watson is new to New York. He lives in Shelby’s building with his mom, who was in the army. He likes to write, and therefore, he starts chronicling his adventures with Shelby instead of focusing on fiction, like he had in the past. Watson is a couple years older than Shelby, and he starts out wanting to find new friends, but eventually, the two of them realize they are better together – like the original Sherlock and Watson. 

If you know the original stories or even have seen the movies/TV shows, you should recognize the various similarities between Shelby and Sherlock. There is Lestrade- the detective, Mrs. Hudson-she lives in Watson and Shelby’s building, Shelby is addicted to sugar like Sherlock was addicted to drugs, Shelby has a brother Michael like Sherlock had a brother named Mycroft, and on! I loved seeing these little nods to the original story throughout the book.

As for the actual mystery, it was a case of a show dog going missing. It was a cute story, but it was also a fun mystery that I enjoyed learning along with Watson. Shelby isn’t always forthcoming about all of her discoveries, but Sherlock was always the same. This is a mystery you could figure out on your own, before the big reveal, though. I pieced it all together near the end, but it was still a fun story to read and I had no idea for a long time! I can’t wait for the next book.

22 responses to “The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I don't generally love re-workings of Sherlock Holmes in literature, though it's a completely different story on screen. Not sure this is for me, but great review!

  2. Oh, I totally need this in my life – I adore Sherlock Holmes!

    Have you ever read the Enola Holmes book series? They're set in Victorian times and star Sherlock's younger sister. I absolutely love them!


  3. Hmm, I haven't read any of the original stories but have read a few of the newer stories. Not sure how this compares with those who have read the originals but in general the jury is still out as to what I think of re-writings.

    Anyway, this sounds like a sweet read and I love the idea of Shelby Watson.

  4. Oh I love the sound of this one. It's good it see a female version of Sherlock Holmes I'll admit, I've only ever heard of Young Sherlock Holmes by Andrew Lane as a more direct version of it. Great review. Will be sure to recommend these to my students! 🙂

  5. The only Sherlock Homles book I've read is Lock and Mori. It's pretty good but I think I would like to read a story of them as kids more. I really like that Watson is narrating the story just like the original and the tv show at times. I'm curious if Moriarty will show up. I'm kind of excited how this will really get kids started in loving Sherlock Holmes.

  6. My daughter really enjoyed this book, but I've yet to read it. It seems pretty adorable, though. I wish I was more of a Sherlock fan so I'd get all the little references, but it sounds like it will be a cute read even without that.

  7. Awwww, man… I wish I had this book! I grabbed a bunch of great MG books and I missed this one somehow. I wonder if I accidentally gave it to my neighbor's kids 🙁 I looked up this author b/c she sounded familiar and she's written quite a few books. I love the idea that she mirrored the original world!!!

    Great review!!!

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