________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIIII Number 2. . . .September 14, 2012


Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, his Final Case. (The Boy Sherlock Holmes series; 6).

Shane Peacock.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2012.
245 pp., hardcover & ebook, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-232-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-291-2 (ebook).

Subject Heading:
Holmes, Sherlock (Fictitious character)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by David Ward.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



I am someone who is at your service, sir, and at the service of anyone who is wronged, whether they be rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, Englishman or otherwise.” The boy straightens his second-hand frock coat. “My name is Sherlock Holmes.”


And so the end comes to the beginning of the story of the world’s most beloved detective in Shane Peacock’s Becoming Holmes, the last of his boyhood Holmes mysteries. I have thoroughly enjoyed the world of Victorian England from this first person, close up and tangible version of Holmes. The series has courageously woven together famous people, popular myths and the street-level views of London. The mysteries, themselves, contain the illusive clues so reminiscent of Doyle’s work.

     In this last installment and, dare I say, his final bow, Peacock sets the scene for the man Sherlock Holmes. The story is ripe with premonitions:

In the future, I need an upstairs flat of my own, with a companion and a housekeeper.

     Wonderfully, Malefactor is revealed as Moriarty, Holmes’s physical strength is explained, his relationship to his brother created, and the infamous tension between Lestrade and Holmes is founded. All through the first books in the series, Peacock skillfully planted the seeds of the flower that Holmes was to become publically.

     Becoming Holmes is gruesome in some parts. The Cross Bones Graveyard scene, (a graveyard reserved for the poor) stopped me from eating my snack as I read. The scene intrigued me enough to do some research, and I discovered that the facts in the story certainly correlated to what I read. Horrible. Peacock once again did his work well.

      The end was surprising. It was certainly not what I expected, and it was not what I wanted as a reader. However, the ending certainly explains the melancholy and relentless pursuit of villains that consumes the man Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s writing. As always, Mr. Bell, the apothecary, was a delightful character. His final scene did him much justice.

     Readers who have been captivated by “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” series will find this a satisfactory and hang-on-to-your-seat read. It was sad to know this is the final installment. Once again, social studies, Victorian England, and mysteries are central to the story and could be greatly used in Language Arts or history classes.

Highly Recommended.

A graduate of the doctoral program at the University of British Columbia, David Ward is a children’s author and a professor at the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, OR.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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