Book reviews – Young Sherlock Holmes: Knife Edge, by Andrew Lane
by Andrew Lane Series: Young Sherlock Holmes #6 Published by Macmillan Children's
on 12 September 2013 Format:
Something sinister is afoot in the house in the west of Ireland in which Sherlock is staying. There are frightened whisperings among the servants and the house's owners are clearly scared. But who - or what? - has terrified them so much that nobody will speak out? Young Sherlock must bring all his powers of deduction to unravelling his greatest mystery yet. Another fast-paced, brilliantly plotted adventure as teenage Sherlock investigates a new crime and comes up against a fresh crop of sinister, clever criminals.
DYLAN, AGE 9, REVIEWS
Star rating: * * * * 4 out of 5
When I started reading this book, I thought it might be one of those books with too many words. I was not that interested in the boat setting at the beginning and then there was a long letter from Sherlock’s girlfriend who didn’t want to be his girlfriend anymore.
But then the book got good. There were mysteries and séances and dead people and missing shoes. It had brilliant characters and villains. I like Amyus Crowe, the big American. His accent is interesting and you always know it is him talking. He is also much quicker at figuring things out than the others. He is very smart for an adult character – almost as smart as Sherlock Holmes.
My favourite bit was the second séance because it spent a long time explaining what was happening and how Sherlock Holmes knew what was going on. I’m not sure whether I believe you can talk to the dead or not. I don’t think I would say if I did, because this seems like the kind of thing people would want to argue with me about. However, it makes the book very interesting.
My dad thought I would like the book being set in Ireland because I am half-Irish and Dad says I have been to Galway. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember it. Sorry people from Galway. I do remember Giant’s Causeway and I would like Sherlock Holmes to go there because that is a brilliant place in Ireland, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the story of the book. Sorry.
Overall, it was a very good book and you should buy it. You will learn new words. I learnt that a ‘folly’ is a building in a big house’s garden that has no reason for being there except to look good and interesting. For me the folly was the most memorable thing about the book – maybe because it has such a good name.
Star rating: * * * * 4 out of 5
Young Sherlock Holmes isn’t one for a quiet sit down and a biscuit. We join him at the beginning of Knife Edge, the sixth installment of Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock series, high in the riggings of a ship. He’s returning from China, after having been kidnapped and taken to Shanghai by the evil Paradol Chamber in the last book. Now he thinks he is coming home, but life just isn’t that easy for young Sherlock.
This time, and slightly unusually for the series, the story isn’t set up against a backdrop of factual historical events. Instead the old gang is based at a spooky old castle in Ireland, with smugglers’ caves, a one-eyed psychic who appears to have the ability to communicate with the dead, and a mysterious Dark Beast that inhabits the mists. With that set of ingredients it is simply not possible for an adventure story to go wrong.
Knife Edge is great fun. The villains are villainous, the mysteries are mysterious, and the tight plot sweeps you along whilst leaving just enough time for a budding detective to be able to join in. That sense of satisfaction when you can get to an answer faster than Sherlock is tough to beat.
Andrew Lane has said that he had fun writing the book because it reminds him of the Enid Blyton Famous Five stories that he used to read as a kid. The spirit of adventure in Knife Edge beautifully recalls the atmosphere of Blyton’s stories (though there is perhaps a tad more peril and murder in this). And of course, as with all good mysteries, both confirm the idea that if everyone thinks about the problem logically then the answer, however improbable, will be revealed. Sherlock would probably give the lashings and lashings of ginger beer a miss though.