“Death Cloud – Young Sherlock Holmes #1” by Andrew Lane – light-weight but entertaining Victorianish young adult adventure

Death-Cloud“Death Cloud” is short, fast-paced, young adult adventure in which the young Sherlock Holmes spends his summer vacation saving the British Empire from the fiendish schemes of freakish foreigners.

Both the fiendish scheme and the freakish foreigner are insane; the impracticality of the plot being exceeded only by the instability of the plotter.

The story is entertaining, moving along at a good pace, with Holmes constantly rushing into danger that he then has to think his way out of. There is a lot of action, regular deductions and a little bit of history.

The characters are drawn with a subtlety that is only slightly above the level of a “Scoobey Doo” episode. The Victorian world is the modern day in costume and, of course, any modern day adventure would have to have an American at its centre. In this case it has two: a “tutor” who seems to be more like a man of action and his kick-ass daughter whom he allows to travel unaccompanied and who knows how to ride, track and give a good account of herself in a fight.

Sherlock was surprised to find that the young lady did not ride side-saddle. I was surprised to find that she had been taught to ride in America but still knew how to use a British saddle.

The young Holme’s character as yet shows very little of the man Dr. Watson described but the level of story-telling is broadly equivalent to Conan Doyle’s short stories.

This was a fun way to spend an afternoon but didn’t have enough in it to attract me to the rest of the series.

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