Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book review - The Gravediggers Club

Title: The Gravediggers Club
Author: Robert J. Harris
Genre: historical fiction/mystery
Similar books: The Magician's Fire by Simon Nicholson
                      The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
a nice nod to a familiar story

Summary (provided by publisher): One day Arthur Conan Doyle will create the greatest detective of all -- Sherlock Holmes. But right now Artie Conan Doyle is a twelve-year-old Edinburgh schoolboy with a mystery of his own to solve.
While sneaking out to explore Greyfriars Kirkyard by night, Artie and his best friend Ham spot a ghostly lady in grey and discover the footprints of a gigantic hound. Could the two mysteries be connected?
These strange clues lead them to a series of robberies carried out by the sinister Gravediggers' Club and soon they find themselves pitted against the villainous Colonel Braxton Dash.
Will Artie survive his encounters with graveyards and ghosts in the foggy streets of nineteenth century Edinburgh -- or will his first case be his last?

My opinion: We see plenty of young Sherlock Holmes or modern Sherlock Homes. I think this is the first I've seen young Arthur Conan Doyle. All references to known material aside, it's not a bad mystery. Clues aren't always the clearest but the pacing is solid. There are a number of cultural and historical references, which will be a barrier for some young readers. What I really enjoyed was the way Harris used elements from Sherlock Holmes stories in this plot, implying that events in his early life were the inspiration for Doyle's writing. Fun for a young Holmes fan.

More information: The Gravedigger's Club releases June 1.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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