Book: Stone Cold (Young Sherlock Holmes 7)
Author: Andrew Lane
This book is the seventh of the Young Sherlock Holmes series and it follows the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as a teenager, each book following a different crime that he solved in his teenage years & showing him the developing the skills that he shows in the Arthur Conan Doyle books (though I will admit now I’ve never read the Sherlock Holmes books, my knowledge of him mainly comes from TV shows and movies!).
In this book, Young Sherlock is in Oxford, continuing his education, he is slightly miffed that this is where his brother has chosen to send him as Cambridge is closer to his family home in London, and he’d much rather be in London anyway. The book is a little slow, most of it is mainly build up, with Matty and Sherlock gathering clues to solve the mystery of body-snatchers (someone stealing parts of bodies from the mortuary in Oxford), which reminded me of the mystery in Fire Storm which also involved bodysnatchers. The book only really picks up the pace towards the end of the novel. I also found that the chapters were a little long in places, most of the chapters were about 20 pages, and I would have preferred it of there was more of a mix of long and short chapters.
The Young Sherlock books nearly always include a real historical person who was alive at the time of the story (it’s around 1870 now, I think), and the historical person used in this book is Charles Dodgson (also known under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, author of Alice In Wonderland, I can’t believe I didn’t know that Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym until now!). I liked his inclusion in the book, brief though it was, and I found him a colourful, eccentric, interesting addition to the story, and look forward to reading more about him in the next Young Sherlock book (as Lane has hinted that he will be involved).
There are two mysteries to be solved in this book, the mystery of who is stealing the parts from the Oxford mortuary and a second mystery as to how a house of an old friend of Mycroft’s Mortimer Maberley is moving and I found it quite interesting to see how Lane managed to link the two mysteries together. I liked that in this book it was just Sherlock and Matty working together to solve the mystery, I had missed that in the last few books and it was nice to see that again. The mysteries themselves were quite clever, I didn’t work out either of them, but then again I’m not very good at working out that sort of thing, and I enjoyed following Sherlock’s thought processes as he worked out both mysteries. I have to admit, I miss some of Lane’s more outlandish villains (think Baron Maupertuis from the first book, or Arrhenius from the fifth book), as I didn’t find the villains in this book as strange, or creepy as previous villains have been. I’m not sure if the mysteries in this book were my favourites of the ones that Lane has written but they were interesting enough and kept me wanting to know what was happening as much as Sherlock and Matty did. It was also nice to see what Sherlock could do on his own without adult advice or help, although I have to admit I do miss Amyus Crowe (Sherlock’s American tutor), and I hope that he makes a return to the books eventually, although I doubt it, it seems like his role in the story is over. The person who I originally thought was the villian did not turn out to be in the end, and it was someone I completely didn’t expect.
It was nice to have Matty around again with a larger role in this book, and I look forward to seeing how he as character develops and how his relationship with Sherlock develops also, as he has shown himself to be a very competent partner to Sherlock, and I love the wit he adds to the story. He’s probably my second favourite character, to Sherlock himself obviously.
I also miss Virginia Crowe, she was one of those strong female characters that I just love, and without her, the female characters in the books are just typical Victorian women. I’d like to see her come back with her fiancé as it would be interesting to see how Sherlock reacts to that.
I loved the bit when Sherlock goes to say hello to Mrs McCrery’s cat and realised that it was stuffed, even more so when I read in the author’s note in the back of the book that it came from a real life experience that Andrew Lane had.
I like Mycroft, yes he’s manipulative, but he’s really clever and you can tell that he has Sherlock’s best interests at heart most of the time. I’d maybe like to see more of him, as I love Sherlock and Mycroft’s brotherly relationship but we only get to see them interact at the beginning and the end of the book, although he is mentioned periodically throughout.
I’m interested to know more about Ferny Weston, as we know about his accident and his career in the police force but I’d like to know a little more, as we didn’t really get to know him all that well in this book. I have a feeling he’s going to be in the next one, and I look forward to seeing him teaching Sherlock about how people’s professions leave traces on their bodies because I found that really interesting. I also liked Mortimer Maberely, he was quite a quirky character and I hope to see him more in the future as well.
Whilst I did like this book, it had the classic signs of a bridge book, most of the book was taken up with introducing the new setting of Oxford, and Sherlock deducing the stolen body parts case, which while interesting was quite slow paced and missing some action up until the climax. Now that Matty and Sherlock are settled in Oxford, I’m hoping that the next book will be a little more exciting with a slightly creepier villian. I like the way that Sherlock has grown up over the course of the books, you can really tell that he is maturing, and I look forward to seeing this more in future books, and following his adventures. I can’t wait to see what the next book brings! It hasn’t got a name yet, but when it has I’m sure I’ll enjoy speculating about what it’s about. Lane hasn’t specified how long the series will last for, but I’m enjoying them, so the longer the better!
My Rating: 3/5
The next book I will be reviewing is Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas (I would like to make it clear that Dangerous Boys is not the sequel to Dangerous Girls).