Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The 100-Year-Old Secret by Tracy Barrett

From the book: Go to The Dancing Men and ask for a saucer of milk for your snake.  
Then all will be revealed.
     That's all the note says - before the ink disappears!  Xena and Xander Holmes think living in London will be boring.  But when they discover they're related to Sherlock Holmes and inherit his unsolved casebook, life becomes much more exciting.
     The siblings set out to solve the cases their famous ancestor couldn't, starting with the mystery of a prized painting that vanished a hundred years ago.  Can two smart twenty-first-century kids succeed where the celebrated Sherlock Holmes could not?

From Heather:  I can't tell you how excited I was to read this book!  I have loved mysteries for my entire life it seems.  When I was younger I would read Hardy Boys mysteries almost non-stop.  Reading three or four of them in a day during the summer wasn't all that unusual for me.  I loved the quick Encyclopedia Brown stories too.  It's fun to watch characters figure things out (and to try to figure it out before they do!)  So I was really excited for this book.

I'll start where I always start - with the cover art!  :)   I love this cover!  The cover that was on my book is different, and I really, really don't like it.  But the new covers are fantastic.  Right now there are 4 books in the series: The 100-Year-Old Secret, The Beast of Blackslope, The Case That Time Forgot, and the Missing Heir.  And all of them have covers in this same new style.  (which I love...have I mentioned that?)  =]

The book is about Xena and Xander (how cool are those names?!?  Seriously, what awesome names for characters!)  They move to London for their Dad's job and learn, after an interesting adventure, that they are direct descendants of Sherlock Holmes.  They are given a book by the SPFD (the Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives!) that is a book of Sherlock Holmes unfinished cases.

Xena and Xander then try to figure out what happened to a painting that was lost 100 years ago.  It's fun to watch them work!  As a brother and sister they have their disagreements, but it's fun to see them work together and encourage one another.  They are also teamed up with Andrew, a boy about their age that is a direct descendant of Dr. John Watson.  It's fun to see them interact as well.

I gave this book 5 stars.  I really, really liked it.  The plot, as read by an adult, seems a little simplistic.  But from the perspective of the prospective audience it is perfect!  I love the premise of the book, that descendants of Sherlock Holmes (although it's hard to imagine him married!) are still around and continuing his cases that he couldn't finish.  I've read the first two books and I can't wait to read the rest!

So how about you?  What are your favorite character names that you've read about in a book?


Misty Moncur said...

Ooooh, that sounds good! I LOVE Sherlock Holmes.
I've read a book about Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde's descendants and one about Romeo and Juliet's descendants. And then there was that one about Jesus's descendnts Must be a popular idea.

Jillian said...

This was such a fun review! Thanks for sharing and making me smile :)