Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Historical Fiction Mystery: Sherlock, Lupin and Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler

18906255Sherlock, Lupin and Me  by Irene Adler, is a lovely middle-grade novel about a younger version of the trio.   Irene Adler is vacationing with her mother and their butler in the small seaside resort of San Malo during the summer of 1870. Wanting for some excitement, Irene wanders off and finds Sherlock reading a book. Sherlock takes her down to the harbor where he introduces her to Lupin. The trio set sail to Ascroft Manor, a deserted home along the beach, where they spend their days playing games and putting on elaborate plays. That is until they discover a body of a man along the beach and Irene spots someone in a blue cloak watching them after they find the body. Concerned for their safety, the trio decide that they must figure out how the man died, if only to protect themselves from someone coming after them too.  

I really enjoyed Sherlock, Lupin and Me and the introduction to the younger versions of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and master thief Arsene Lupin.  Sadly, I didn't know much about Irene Adler or Arsene Lupin before reading the story, but gained some insights into the characters. I think having Irene narrate the story worked for me somehow.   Plus, after some sleuthing of my own, I found out that Irene Adler was a ficitonal character in "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  How cool is that? Despite Irene being seen as not behaving in a way that is "appropriate for a lady,"  she maintained her head strong attitude, even putting Sherlock in his place by forcing him to use his "good manners and polite smiles." Irene does come off as disobeidient and uncontrollable, but perhaps it was because she was so very bored.  Left in the company of a mother who would rather be playing cards and a butler, without friends to entertain her, she was bound to go off looking for some excitement herself. I so enjoyed the battle of wits that Irene and Sherlock had with one another, it was quite amusing.  Throughout the story, Irene makes all these little remarks like, "I found out years later...,"   alluding to what lies ahead in the future for these three characters within the series and also as adults.  For those familiar more with the stories of Sir Conan Doyle, this probably will make more sense.  I found it added to the mystery of the future sequels and how the steadfast trio's story will progress.  I also want to find out how the author resolves the trio continuing to solve mysteries if Irene has to leave San Malo at the end of the summer.   There are so many directions that I see this story being able to go though.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the beautiful illustrations by Iacopo Bruno.  He illustrated The Spindlers, Iron Hearted Violet, The School for Good and Evil, Jinx, and The Actual Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, to name a few.   Overall, a wonderful introduction to Sherlock, Lupin and Irene Adler.  

I received a review copy from the publisher for consideration for the 2014 Cybils award in Middle Grade fiction.  


  1. This looks clever and interesting. I'm pretty particular about 'younger versions' of classic characters, but this looks worth a try. After I read more Doyle. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Arsene Lupin, and I'm very intrigued.

    1. I enjoyed this, but keep in mind that Irene is the narrator not Sherlock or Lupin. We see them through her eyes and dialogue. I too am very intrigued by Lupin and hope to learn more about him.

  2. I love Arsene Lupin and am surprised to see him mentioned in a modern book. I may check this out.