Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snake Bite by Andrew Lane - ADVISABLE

Lane, Andrew.  Snake Bite.  Farrar, Straus, Giroux (Macmillan), 2014.  $17.99.  288 pages.  Sexual Content: G.  Language: G.  Violence: PG-13. 

The fifth installment of series, The Legend Begins: Sherlock Holmes, and fans will not be disappointed.  Author Andrew Lane continues to deliver interesting mysteries with fascinating characters.  Sherlock has been kidnapped and placed on a boat named the Gloria Scott to China.  In classic Sherlockian way, Sherlock becomes a member of the crew and learns all about sailing.  He makes friend with the Chinese cook, Wu Chung, who teaches him the art of T’ai Chi and a little Cantonese.  The boat picks up a mysterious passenger who wears a veil over his face.  When they arrive at Shanghai, Sherlock meets an American boy his same age named Cameron McKenzie.  Cameron’s father is an American trader and an important businessman in Shanghai.  Cameron invites Sherlock to dinner and he sees the mysterious guest from the boat, Mr. Arrhenius.  Sherlock visits Wu Chung and learns that his friend has signed to be assistant cook on the American ship USS Monocacy, but is too sick to sail.  He has a mysterious snake bite and then dies.  Cameron’s father also dies of a mysterious snake bite.  The game’s afoot and the boys determine to find out who killed Sherlock’s friend and Cameron’s father.  Sherlock continues to be an engaging character that is thoughtful and observant.  The new cast of characters are interesting as well, with only a slight nod to the main characters in the previous books (Virginia, Mycroft, and Crowe).    You don’t have to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this adventure.  A great book for boys and girls for that matter.

MS/HS: ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.

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