A book review of Sherlock, Lupin, & Me: The Dark Lady (Book #1) by Irene Adler (no spoilers included)
Sherlock, Lupin, & Me: The Dark Lady (Book #1) by Irene Adler and Illustrated by Jacopo Bruno is the first in a children's series entitled Sherlock, Lupin, & Me. Originally, published in Italian (Sherlock, Lupin, & IO (Orginial title: Il trio della Damma Nera) and published by Edizioni Piemme was later picked up by Capstone Young Readers in 2014 and translated to English. Thus, allowing reader's as myself to enjoy the pages of this story.
This story follows our three main characters, William Sherlock Holmes, Arséne Lupin, and our narrator, Irene Adler, who are not the full-fledged adults we have come to know either in Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novels or from the award-winning BBC series 'Sherlock,' these characters have taken on the years of adolescence (As to my knowledge, Lupin was not mention as of yet in the BBC series, but is described as a 'gentleman thief,' within the classics and this description could later on influence Lupin as a character overall.). Sherlock, Lupin, & Me, takes place in Saint- Malo, the location for the Adler's (Irene, Mrs. Adler, and their butler, Horatio) summer beach vacation. However, when they finally land on Saint-Malo, Irene finds it hard to resist the urge for adventure to free herself from her overprotective mother and butler. As well as, to forget about her father's (Mr. Adler) frequent absence due to his work-related trips.
On Irene's first adventure sneaking out on her own, she ends up bumping into none other than Sherlock, himself. Their friendship is spontaneous and quick and almost as soon as Irene and Sherlock meet, Sherlock best friend and companion Arséne Lupin get pulled into the mix, creating our fiction 'three amigos or three musketeers.' Their adventure begins with a boat ride to Ashcroft Manor, however, adventuresome this journey leaves more to be desired as this abandoned manor serves more as a club house for the characters than a place where a mystery could unfold.
Nonetheless, the story does not end here, as mysterious circumstances start to unravel including a dead body washed up on the beach shore, a priceless necklace stolen, and a mysterious cloaked figure spotted both on the beachside and on nearby roof tops. These happenstances cause Sherlock, Lupin, and Irene to join forces to solve these crimes and to connect the dots between them. Questions will get answered, but more questions arise. Did the man on the beach commit suicide or was it murder? Who stole Lady Martigny's jewelry? Who is this mysterious cloaked figure?
Overall, this book was quite an enjoyable read. It had action-packed sequences of events, short conversations between characters allowing for quicker insight to the case, and an unexpected ending. Spite it upsides, there were also a few issues with the book as well. Some of these issues include a slow beginning, Italian names, and the focus on sub-plot lines. The beginning of the book was slow, as it took until page 58 before the mysterious elements began to creep up (the discovery of the dead man on the beach) and by then one-fourth of the book was over. However, I do understand the need for setting and character development as this is the first book in a five to seven book series, but I wish it took less time to get to the main plot line, the action that caught my attention and made me want to continue on reading.
Secondly, due to the translation from Italian to English a lot of the Italian names and streets were kept in tact, but left me as the reader frustrated over pronunciation of such words. It ultimately didn't take way from the book too much as it added to the overall atmospheric setting, but with the inclusion of these words made it harder to read.
Thirdly, I wish the book focused more on the mystery then on the sub-plot lines including the over-protective butler and Mr. Adler's visitation, just to name a few. I was more intrigued by the criminal cases and felt as if some of the sub-plots took away from the story. Nonetheless, I see the significants of these events as they helped flow one scene to the next.