“Why isn’t there someone who can investigate things that the police won’t or can’t investigate? Some kind of independent consulting force of detectives who can set things straight …” So questions a teenage Sherlock Holmes as he tries to free his brother from jail. With references like this and a solid mystery that can only be solved through deductive reasoning, it is apparent why Black Ice by Andrew Lane is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. Black Ice is impressive and enjoyable with a well-researched and well-developed young Sherlock Holmes.
In Black Ice, a teenage Sherlock Holmes travels to London with his friend and tutor, Amyus Crowe, to visit his brother. Unfortunately, instead of having lunch with Mycroft, they find him locked in a room with a dead body and holding a knife. Mycroft claims he’s innocent, and Sherlock knows his brother didn’t do anything wrong. Together with Crowe, Sherlock must solve the mystery to clear his brother’s name. Along the way Amyus Crowe teaches Sherlock how to make correct observations and deductions.
Bad things can happen to characters when people try to recreate them as children or teens. It can really detract from their future adult character. Anakin Skywalker is a good example, in my opinion. Darth Vader was a lot less impressive and scary to me after seeing whiny Anakin. So I was hesitant when I picked this book off the library shelf. Would this change the way I viewed the adult Sherlock? Well, it did but in a good way. It actually made me understand Doyle’s detective a bit more. I was very appreciative of Andrew Lane’s efforts to maintain the Sherlock Holmes canon and character.
I thought the book was slow in the beginning, and it took a bit for me to get into it. After Sherlock travelled to London and found the knife-wielding Mycroft, the book definitely picked up, and from then on, it was non-stop action. I really loved Mr. Lane’s teenage Sherlock. The Sherlock of this story wasn’t a genius at solving mysteries. While he obviously had a leaning towards the detailed observation and mystery solving skills of his adult self, he made mistakes in his deductions. He was also less logical and in control and more emotional than the adult Sherlock. I could really see this character growing up to be the Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street.
This book is the third in Mr. Lane’s series, which I didn’t know at the time I chose it. Black Ice made a few references to previous adventures Sherlock had, leaving me rather confused since I hadn’t read the other books. I ordered them from the library, and now they’re waiting to be read. I suggest reading them in order: Death Cloud, Rebel Fire, Black Ice, Fire Storm 😉
Overall, Black Ice was a great mystery and story that allowed me to see what the world’s only consulting detective was like when he was my age. 🙂