Friday, February 18, 2011

The Clue in the Clock: The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett

At first Xander Holmes thought that the slip of paper must have fallen out of his own notebook. But even as he stooped to pick it up, he noticed some details that most people wouldn't have seen. This was partly genetic--he was, after all, the great-great-great grandson of the the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. His sister Xena read the few lines on the paper:

"So the bullet missed?" the detective asked.

"Yes, she ducked, so--"

"What, son?"

But he was on his way out the door. "Dad," he called back, "be sure, lock the door on your way out. I'm going to the homes."

Xander grinned. "I think I figured it out. Read it out loud."

In her latest installment of The Sherlock Files, The Case That Time Forgot (Sherlock Files) (Henry Holt, 2010), author Tracy Barrett has young sleuths Xander and Xena Holmes on the trail of an ancient Egyptian amulet believed to be capable of stopping time once every fifty years. Their classmate Karim Farag, the recipient of secret information passed down in his family for over a hundred years, first tests their detective skills and then persuades Xander and Xena, as the possessors of Sherlock Holmes' own Casebook of unsolved cases, to take up the challenge to complete the investigation that their ancestor was forced to drop long ago.

But it seems there are other forces which have clandestine reasons to have Xena and Xander solve the case for them. As they make their way from the British Museum's Egyptian Rosetta Stone, to Cleopatra's Needle, then to Big Ben's clock tower, the Cat and Crown pub, and at last back to the Museum for the unwrapping of a Pharaoh's mummy following Sherlock's century-cold trail, a sinister hooded figure seems to be shadowing them. And when Sherlock's Casebook is stolen right under Xander's nose, the two fear that they may be in danger of more than just failing to solve their ancestor's old case.

A rousing detective story, this one takes full advantage of its London setting as Xena and Xander take the Tube around the sights of the rainy, foggy cityscape seeking to stay ahead of their pursuer in the race to find the mysterious amulet before its time-stopping powers are activated. Real clues mix with fake ones to give both the young detectives and the reader an intriguing mental workout in this latest in the series, which also includes The 100-Year-Old Secret (Sherlock Files) The Beast of Blackslope (Sherlock Files) and The Missing Heir (Sherlock Files).

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  • I just saw this series yesterday while looking through books on Amazon. It's looks quite promising.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:42 AM  

  • It's got a great premise and the settings are a nice change from the typical suburbian surroundings which work so nicely in the beginning chapter mysteries like the "A to Z" or Cam Jansen series. These are right for kids just moving into middle-elementary novels--not too long, not too intense or scary, but with interesting details that connect with things kids should know about.

    By Blogger GTC, at 8:53 AM  

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