Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Dark Lady: Sherlock, Lupin and Me

The Dark Lady: Sherlock, Lupin and Me
by "Irene Adler" [j Adler]

Although we don't normally review youth materials on BookGuide, there are a lot of Sherlock Holmes afficionados who may appreciate this juvenile title. The Dark Lady is an English language translation of the first in a six-book series originally released in Italian. The book is ostensibly told from the point-of-view of Irene Adler as a young pre-teen, on vacation in the village of Saint Malo. In fact, "Irene Adler" is listed as the "author" of this work. Irene, as Sherlockians well know, will be "the woman" who bests him on a case ("A Scandal in Bohemia") in his later career. But in this story, she's very young. As are William "Sherlock" Holmes and Arsene Lupin (later a famed "gentleman thief" in a series of detective/crime novels by Maurice Leblanc), both of whom are also vacationing in Saint Malo. The three youth naturally encounter each other and form into a tight-knit band of friends. And, this being a juvenile crime novel, the threesome tumble across a dead body on the seashore. When the local constabulary seem incapable of solving the mystery of the dead man, the three juvenile detectives take on the case, which puts them in peril with the local criminal elements. The three main characters are bright, inquisitive and likeable, even though Sherlock has already started to develop some of the abrasive qualities he will exhibit as a "consulting detective" in his adult years. Irene herself is perhaps a bit too progressive for the time period in which this story is set, but she makes for a very plucky narrative voice. No matter how ridiculous the set-up for this series of books is, I enjoyed this and look forward to the other volumes being translated into English. Sherlock fans should enjoy this as well. One fair warning — the ending of this book comes rather abruptly, as if the author got tired of the story, and decided to wrap things up on short notice. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the books on our Elementary booklist — a comprehensive listing of alternative Sherlock Holmes works.]

[ English-language publisher's official The Dark Lady web page ]

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