Title: The Giant Rat of SumatraThe Baker Street Mysteries #2 - The Giant Rat of Sumatra
Authors: Jake & Luke Thoene
Pages: 150
Recommended Ages: 9-14
Star Rating: ★★★

Imitation Holmes!

The Story.

Sherlock Holmes is on a case and he needs the help of the Baker Street Irregulars! Danny Wiggins, Peachy Carnehan, and Duff Bernard are more than happy to team up with Mr. Holmes again – especially when they learn that it is the Queen herself who needs their service.

The year is 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration, and representatives are coming from around the world laden with gifts for her majesty. Holmes’ job is to see to it that none of the jewels are stolen from the Tower.

It seems they have been successful, until one of the gems is dropped and shatters into a zillion pieces. It is then that Holmes realizes that many of the gems have been exchanged for paste. But can the Baker Street Irregulars find out who perpetuated this crime – and how it was committed?

Discussion.

I enjoyed this little mystery – it had fun elements such as the Tower of London, the Giant Rat of Sumatra (what is it, exactly????), and of course Holmes himself. However, it didn’t feel like a genuine Holmes story for several reasons.

First off, Watson wasn’t there. And I noticed his absence fairly quickly. Sure, he wasn’t around for every single one of Holmes’ cases, but I don’t understand why he wasn’t included in this pastiche, especially since it needed all of the help it could get to seem genuine.

Perhaps Watson’s presence would have helped some, but even he couldn’t have saved The Giant Rat of Sumatra from feeling like fan fiction. The descriptive passages (of which there were few) felt nothing like the original stories, and the dialogue also felt cheap. However, it was still a fun reimagining of the story.

While spending the night in the tower, one of the boys wonders if he’ll see the ghosts of famous people executed there. He doesn’t.

A bothersome typo presented itself on page 6 – the word ‘roll’ being used where ‘role’ belonged.

Conclusion. Not so genuine an imitation as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes or The Case of the Baker Street Irregular.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

 

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