In the previous volume of his Young Sherlock Holmes series, BLACK ICE, author Andy Lane took our hero to Russia. There, Sherlock beat off the bad guys who belonged to the venomous Paradol Chamberand vindicated his brother, Mycroft, who was accused of murder. In FIRE STORM, Sherlock is sticking around in the United Kingdom, but is involved in just as much trouble - this time, his best friend, Virginia, and her father go missing.
The problem is two-fold. For one, the Holmes family’s pesky housekeeper, Mrs. Eglantine, is blackmailing Sherlock’s aunt and uncle. Over what? Uncle Sherrinford and Aunt Anna won’t say, so the boy detective is on his own. In the process of his investigations, Sherlock meets up with a local, savage blackmailer, who will do anything to make sure Sherly doesn’t get anywhere near the evidence he has. Plus, Sherlock’s family’s reputation is at stake...so Mrs. Eglantine looms large in our hero’s imagination.
...a solid volume in a standout series
The next dilemma on the teenage Mr. Holmes’s list? Find his friend Virginia and her father, the roguish American Amyus Crowe, who is also Sherlock’s tutor. Their cottage near the Holmes Manor is mysteriously empty, and there’s no sign of where the Crowes might have gone. Or so Sherlock thinks, until he and his friend Matty Arnatt use their brains --- and the skills Amyus has taught Sherlock --- to decipher clues.
Their search for the Crowes leads the duo --- together with Sherlock’s guardian, Rufus Stone --- to Edinburgh. Sherlock has never been to Scotland before, but, in true Holmes-ian fashion, he immerses himself in the city to find his friends. Add in a puzzling ad in a local newspaper, a super-villain who doesn’t object to torturing his rivals and Amyus Crowe’s past coming back to haunt him, and you’ve got one compelling mystery.
FIRE STORM fits in well with the Sherlock Holmes mania currently sweeping the world (see: the BBC series “Sherlock” and the American TV drama “Elementary”for examples). The reader gets a sense of how the young Holmes might have thought and acted, and where he may have acquired his extraordinary deductive abilities. The plot isn’t as compelling as BLACK ICE’s, nor are there the types of heart-stopping cliffhangers one has come to expect in the series, but not every story can match up to its predecessor. All in all, FIRE STORM is a solid volume in a standout series.
Reviewed by Carly Silver on January 7, 2014