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 Summary: Shelby 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.
Review: This 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.