Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Format Read: eBook
Pages: 336 pages
Published by Harper Collins on March 1st 2016
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
As a kid I loved mysteries. I would devour my mum’s copies of Agatha Christie thrillers and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. There weren’t many, but I would read them over and over whenever I didn’t have anything to read. Because of this, I was UNBELIEVABLY excited when I saw this book. A modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes? COUNT ME IN!
A Study in Charlotte follows Jamie Watson who recently transferred to Sherringford prep on a rugby scholarship and who also happens to be the great-great-great-great something of John H. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ famous sidekick. Coincidentally Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter. When a student dies under suspicious circumstances, the clues lead to Jamie and Charlotte. But they didn’t do it… did they?
First of all.. isn’t that cover just gorgeous?! I love it so much! The cover is immediately striking and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it on Twitter! I unfortunately read the e-book version but I am 100% going to grab myself a physical copy when I’m not on a budget (and it’s available in Australia)!
The plot was really something else! I was hooked from the beginning and I hardly saw any of the twists coming (a change because I’m usually pretty good at picking out the mystery ). Bombs, snakes, creepy underground lairs.. you name it, this book has it! It felt like a rollercoaster ride that I did not want to get off!
Unfortunately, I did find some things lacking. I really struggled with the characterisation of Jamie and Charlotte. Jamie was a little too annoying for my liking. Painting him as a jock with anger issues worked to cement him as the ‘braun’ in the partnership and while not a bad thing, didn’t quite make sense in some situations throughout the book. I also didn’t like how Charlotte was often depicted. Perhaps too much like her great-something grandfather, Charlotte was clinical, aloof and an addict. Now clinical and aloof isn’t always a bad thing (I did watch Bones for a good amount of time, and Brennan was wonderful) but it didn’t make sense when combined with the 270 degree turn-around towards the end of the novel. At times I often felt like Charlotte was a thirty-something year old rather than a sixteen year old. Having her addicted to every single kind of illegal and/or addictive substance imaginable took it a little TOO far to make it entirely believable at some parts.
I did love the dynamic of Holmes and Watson together though, there was a good sense of the camaraderie (albeit reluctantly at first) that made the original Sherlock Holmes series (and subsequent re-tellings) so special. I would have liked to have delved more into their friendships with other characters.. but alas there really was no room for that with everything else going on. I do hope the second-tier characters are fleshed out more in the next novel!
Overall I was a teensy bit disappointed by the characterisation (blame my high expectations) but I still loved it a lot, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next one! If you’re a fan of fast-paced plots, tantalising whodunit’s and twists and turns at every corner – this one’s for you!
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