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studyincharlotteOh, my. Holmes and Watson are being framed for murder. But it’s not elementary, my dears, but high school. In Brittany Cavallaro’s clever A Study in Charlotte (HarperCollins, digital galley), Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes, and Jamie Watson, the great-great-great grandson of John Watson, end up at the same New England prep school. Their initial run-in doesn’t portend a happy partnership, however.

Brilliant Charlotte, tutored in deductive skills since childhood, has been helping Scotland Yard since she was 10. Rumor has it that some unfortunate incident has landed her at Sherringford, where she keeps mostly to herself, plays the violin, conducts experiments in her own lab and has a bit of a drug habit. Narrator Jamie, a rugby player and aspiring writer, is nevertheless intrigued by Charlotte’s prickly persona. When a student they both disliked is killed a la speckled band — as in one of their ancestors’ most famous cases — Charlotte enlists Jamie’s help to solve the crime before the police put them in jail. But the wily killer isn’t finished yet, and an attack on another student again points to Holmes and Watson. Is there a member of the Moriarty crime family lurking nearby?

Cavallaro knows the Arthur Canon Doyle canon, and everything about this first novel — plot, pace, writing — is witty and assured. Charlotte and Jamie both have issues with their respective families, roommates and teachers, and they are credible teens with just the right amount of ambition, angst and attitude. A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy, so expect to see more Holmes and Watson adventures before too long. Meanwhile, the publisher has put up a classy promotional trailer on YouTube. You can check it out here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjIJFW8Uetw

 

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