Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.
Who is it by? Brittany Cavallaro is a poet and fiction writer. A Study in Charlotte is her debut novel, and the first in a new trilogy. The rights for its publication have been sold in Brazil, Portuguese, Germany, Japan, and France and Taiwan. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and cat. You can follow her on Twitter at @skippingstones.
What is it about? Jamie Watson is a descendant of the Dr. John H. Watson, so it seems that he was fated to meet Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great grand daughter famous Sherlock Holmes. And since both are related to the original crime-solving duo, they were bound to get themselves caught up in a few mysteries themselves. Despite, an unpleasant introduction to each other, the two are forced to work together when it appears that someone is trying to frame them for the murder of one of their classmates.
Where does it take place? A Study in Charlotte is set in Sherringford, a fictional Connecticut prep school. Like most boarding schools, many of the students come from well-to-do families while others like Jamie attend the school on a scholarship.
Why did I like it? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I not usually a fan of retellings of my favourite classics however A Study in Charlotte had me intrigued at its synopsis. From the beginning, I loved the boarding school setting which was perfect for this modern, YA spin on the crime solving duo of Holmes and Watson.
Also while it is a retelling of sorts, A Study in Charlotte is about the original Holmes and Watson duo, instead it focuses on two of their teenaged descendants. Jamie and Charlotte’s dynamic is very reminiscent of their ancestors, although both are also able to stand on their own as original characters. And while there is an inkling of romance between the two, it does not eclipse the mystery and investigation aspect of the plot. For those of you who are fellow Sherlockians, I think you will appreciate the numerous allusions and nods to the original duo. These include the relationship between Charlotte and her brother as well the tension that continues to exist between the Holmes’ and Moriarty family. One of my favourite things about this book, is all the lamp shading that occurs, for instance many of the original Holmes’ cases are referenced, as well as what happened to the Watsons’ rights to the Holmes’ stories. Additionally the guide to dealing with the Holmeses that Jamie’s dad has is hilarious in that many of the things mentioned are pretty much spot on which makes sense after all its all the information that has been collected by the previous Watsons who’ve worked with and/or interacted with a Holmes.
There are many adaptations and spin offs of the Sherlock stories, however A Study in Charlotte featuring some descendants of the original Holmes and Watson is one that fellow Sherlockians should definitely check out especially if they enjoy YA fiction. Thus, I know I will definitely be looking forward to the next installment in this trilogy.
When is it out? March 1st 2016
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.