A Study in Charlotte is a novel about the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson. Charlotte and Jamie are teenagers attending an exclusive prep school in Connecticut where they meet and are soon after accused of murder. Hijinks ensue as they try to prove their innocence and solve the case together with several throwbacks to classic Holmes and Watson cases. In this world, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was John Watson’s literary agent and the events of the Sherlock Holmes books are biographical rather than fiction.
By page five, I was hooked. Brittany Cavallaro’s writing style and prose are beautiful and sophisticated and every time I thought I had it all figured out, I was very wrong. This story was familiar but new and exciting at the same time. It felt like reading the most amazing fan fiction I’ve ever encountered on crack- and I mean that in the very best way and say it with the highest regard for fanfiction- in the sense that it was invigorating to read a very old story in a very new and intoxicating way.
Not once did I suspect the person who was actually responsible for the murder and attack and the story was layered like a perfect pie crust that Paul Hollywood (of The Great British Bake Off fame) would be very impressed by, indeed. The characters had depth and were very easy to love, despite their flaws. I loved seeing Holmes and Watson work together at school age and I absolutely adored the genderbent portrayal of Holmes as a young woman. Does it really count as being genderbent if it’s a characters great great great grandchild and not the character himself? I think it does. I was also a big fan of characters reminiscent of Mycroft Holmes and Mrs. Hudson making an appearance.
If you love the classic Sherlock Holmes stories or the Sherlock TV show, this is a book for you! The tagline is absolutely right – you’ve never seen Watson and Holmes like this before! Amazon says that it’s for grades 9 and up but due to some infrequent language, references to sexual violence, and drug use, I honestly feel like this is a book for very mature teens and young adults – people age 100+.
The second book in the trilogy, The Last of August, will be released February 14, 2017! You can buy A Study in Charlotte from Amazon for $10.44 new.