Lane, Andrew. Knife Edge (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins). 307 pages. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2013. $18.99. Language: G. Sexual Content: G. Violence: PG.
Sherlock Holmes is returning from being shanghaied in Snake Bite, his brother Mycroft meets him in Ireland. Mycroft wants Sherlock to accompany him to a castle where a spiritualist is selling his skills to the highest bidder. The castle’s owner, Sir Shadrach Quintillan, has a beautiful daughter named Niamh. Niamh tells Sherlock about the Dark Beast-a mysterious creature that kills people. A servant girl is found dead and Sherlock is determined to discover the truth about the spiritualist and who or what the Dark Beast is. The stakes are raised when his brother Mycroft is injured and his old tutor and his daughter Virginia arrive.
Author Lane turns tradition on itself by having the butler and footmen all be female. Sir Shadrach and his daughter were from the Caribbean which was a nice change too. Sherlock is an engaging character that you can’t help but root for. His character continues to develop (as do his detecting skills!). I was a little disappointed in the mystery plot aspect. Like Sherlock, I never believed there really was a Dark Beast or that the spiritualist was genuine. Sherlock explains the hoaxes, but I missed be caught up in an exciting mystery. The end seemed obvious rather than exciting. Still, the series overall is excellent and will appeal to both boys and girls.
MS/HS-ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.