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The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match: 12/06/17

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg is the second Shelby Holmes book. John and Shelby are in school now and their teacher, Mr. Crosby is acting weird. Things get worse when the teacher's watch is stolen and the thief is trying to blackmail him into failing Shelby.

Whenever a Holmes meets their match — two names come instantly to mind: Irene Adler and James Moriarty. In the grand scheme of the original books and stories, neither character is the arch nemesis that they have become in the eyes of the fandom and the pastiches and homages and remakes and adaptations. Both characters did outsmart Holmes but neither were super-villains.

In recent adaptations, Adler and Moriatry are often paired together (example: Sherlock) or are made into the same person (example: Elementary). Eulberg takes that expectation and plays it to her advantage: making Adler the namesake for an exclusive girls school in New York City, and a particular student from the school as the Moriarty stand in, while borrowing much of the plot of the first Sherlock Holmes short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia" (coming after two novels: A Study in Scarlet and the Sign of Four, both of which were inspirations for the first Shelby Holmes novel.

The mystery itself — that of the missing watch and the reason behind the watch are there to set up the Adler trained Moriarty stand-in for this series. As the major characters in the series have been recast as children (or in the case of Watson, split into two: an adult doctor and a child blogger), this nemesis's potential to be all powerful is somewhat limited, but she is still dangerous: because of her lack of empathy, her access to money, and her long runs of unsupervised freedom. I'm hoping though that future volumes will draw from the episodic mysteries.

Five stars

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