A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro is the first in a new trilogy of Sherlock stories centered around the descendants of Sherlock and Watson.
Jamie Watson is starting at Sherringford Prep in Connecticut on a Rugby scholarship against his will. Not only is the school near his estranged father, but she goes there. Charlotte. And when you are a Watson, everyone expects you to be friends with a Holmes. After a tense first meeting, it seems clear Charlotte doesn’t want anything to do with him, but when a student neither of them liked is murdered and all evidence points to the the two of them, they’re going to have to work together to clear their names. But as the investigation escalates, if they don’t catch the killer soon, one or both of them could end up dead.
In this world, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were real, and Arthur Conan Doyle was Watson’s literary agent. Charlottoe and Jamie are their great-great-great-grandchildren. For generations it’s been expected that their families have remained friends.
I really liked the growing friendship between Charlotte and Jamie, it felt natural. While I was a bit surprised to learn just how young Charlotte was when she first tried Heroin (12? really? how did a home schooled 12-year-old get her hands on Heroin unless someone else in the house had it?), and she was a bit more self destructive for someone so young, I did like her. She was willing to do anything to save her friend, a good quality to have. Jamie’s protectiveness and concern for her was is also a good quality to have in a friend. While it was hinted at that he likes Charlotte as more than a friend, her feelings are a bit ambiguous until the end of the book, and the romance remains subtle.
Detective Shepard from the local police department seems to be filling the role of Lestrade and Jamie’s hall mother the role of the housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. And you can’t have a Sherlock story with out them too.
My only issues are with the made up virus and the medical parts, and how the murderer framed Charlotte and Jamie. If you are like me and know anything about medicine, it immediately jumps out at having some inaccuracies. For instance, one’s pulse is not read from a clip attached to your finger, nor is that clip a heart monitor. It measure’s your oxygen levels. And the Latin name for the virus was clearly made up and made no sense. My other issue was with how the murderer used the original Sherlock stories to murder their victims and thus frame Charlotte and Jamie. While this started out as a bit clever, it also came off as a bit cliched now that I’ve had time to think about it.
However, I still loved the book. It was equal parts funny, serious, and edge of your seat action. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next two books and how the relationship between the characters continues to evolve.
Despite the issues, I still feel this was a Four Lightsaber review. I think I give more of those out than anything, but what can I say, I love just about everything I read!