Read for the Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
I cannot completely express my love for this book. It is honestly one of the best things I’ve read in a very long time, and I’m probably going to read it again before the sequel comes out (something I rarely do except for High Fantasy which I have to re-read in order to remember all the characters).
Jaime is the Watson of this story, and as such he serves as the main character and POV (save for a short excerpt by Charlotte at the end). He’s really likable and easy to become invested in as he struggles to make sense of everything that’s been happening to him. Just like Watson in the original stories, Jaime serves as an important link between Holmes and the auidence, who asks the questions that need asked so that we as readers can understand what happens in the genius’ head.
The descendant of Sherlock Holmes who is not quite as like her ancestor as you may be expecting. Charlotte is a really fun character and really has a great deal of depth. She is allowed to grow and and learn, not just as a super genius, but also as a teenage girl, and struggles with a lot of girl problems on top of the murder.
Milo, the brother of Charlotte, serves as the Mycroft of this story, however, he’s far less pompous and annoying and far more of just a very nerdy guy who does (at times) manage to care at least a little for his sister (although, most of it is less for ‘Lottie’ and more to preserve the family name).
I don’t read mysteries very often, because I often find them to be a bit boring and I can almost always guess ‘who done it.’ I am pleased to report that was not the case in A Study in Charlotte for almost all of the book. Yes there were some parts that I figured out, but other things were as much a surprise to me as they were to Jaime and Charlotte.
Because this is set up to be like the Sherlockian stories, it follows in the same format where the auidence knows less than the main character. That was one of the things that made the classic Sherlock stories so popular, because, unlike in all the other mysteries of the time, it was actually impossible to know everything because Holmes always knew more than he was letting on (and because Watson was the primary storyteller, you never knew more than him).
This really reminded me of a book I reviewed not too long ago, Buzzkill by Beth Fantaskey, and that’s a really good thing (in case you don’t know, Buzz Kill is one of my favorite mystery books EVER).
Anyone who is a fan of mysteries should give this book a try, even if retellings and reimaginings aren’t your thing. There are a lot of nods to Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, and discussion of them among the characters, but it still can stand on its own as a great read.