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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Now infamous in their Harlem neighborhood for solving the most difficult mysteries, super sleuths Shelby Holmes and John Watson stumble into their creepiest case yet. Residents of a local apartment building are hearing scary noises at night, like screams, scratching, and an unearthly dog's howl. It can't be a ghost . . . Can it? Well, Shelby Holmes doesn't believe in ghosts, and she plans to prove they don't exist! But Watson can't help but wonder if there are more supernatural forces at work--especially after he and Shelby hear rumors that the building's previous owner, Hugo Baskerville, and his loyal hound haunt the premises. If Shelby and Watson want to find out who (or what!) is behind the spookiness, they'll have to prove they're not afraid of ghosts--by surviving an overnight Halloween stakeout!…

Overall Book Review:

Shelby Holmes is a miniature knock off of the great Sherlock Holmes and she does him proud.  Her side kick is eleven-year-old John Watson.  John works with Shelby and he documents all of her cases for posterity but in a modern way (of course) on his blog. Shelby is nine-years-old and in the sixth grade but she’s really more of an ancient soul with remarkable attention to detail. A bit feisty and wise beyond her years, where she lacks in social graces, Watson steps in and smooths things over. This new case is really challenging their skills but certainly not beyond Holmes’ investigative prowess. Not only do readers see Holmes and Watson deal with their current case in and around Harlem, they also see how they have to deal with real life issues like school, friends, diabetes, and even divorced parents. Through it all, the challenges are presented in a way that the characters deal with them in responsible and respectable ways. The main characters are good role models for young readers. The author even goes a step farther and gives a shout out to the original Sherlock Holmes’ novels with mentions like Mr. Mortimer, Detective Lestrade, the Baskerville Estates, and Mr. Berrymore. 

With several different characters interspersed throughout the story, this would be a fantastic read for young readers.  It’s kind of like a Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boys book. It’s a little scary at times but a whole lot of FUN!  The author, Elizabeth Eulberg, writes in a way that will keep young readers engaged and turning pages but not so scared that they’ll need a nightlight in the dark.  There are no gory details and pretty much everything that seems kind of scary is explained so it’s not goose-bumpy.  Even as an adult reader, this book was entertaining and hard to put down.  At 247 pages, it’s a great step up for young readers who are looking for longer books that are a little more engaging.  It would even make a fun family read aloud.  This is the fourth book in the series and hopefully Elizabeth Eulberg is working on number five. 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore: A man is trying to scare people into leaving so he plays several tricks to try and make them leave, starts out a little scary but is quickly proven false & explained; a howling dog scares people several times; an elderly man is taken to the hospital in an ambulance for health issues; a carbon monoxide scare; an acquaintance has a reputation for and causes trouble.  

Sex/Nudity:  A boy’s divorced Mom is secretly seeing somebody, no touching described, only time together.  

Mature Subject Matter:

Childhood diabetes, divorce, bullies. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A young boy has diabetes and implied that he takes insulin daily. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)