Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Place Like Holmes.

I did something I've never really done before
I bought a book.
That isn't strange in itself, as I buy books all the time. But I almost never buy books new. Unless I've read them before (and can't find them used), I have a gift card to Barnes and Nobles, the book is part of the Warriors series, or some other series.
But yesterday I bought a new book. At the Christian bookstore non-the-less!
When I go to the Christian bookstore I always look at the youth books... And I always see the same three types of book.

1. Pink frilly girly books about a girl who loves boys and then realises that God has all she needs. While this is a good plot.... It's overused. A lot.
2. What if.... What if I could see angels? What if I knew someone who could sense others emotions? What if I was sent to live with two horrid aunts who lived on a streets full of aliens? What if I found a gateway to another world?! What if... what if... what if....
3. Human from earth gets thrown into a different (dark) world where they have to learn to survive... Oh yeah. And there's a dragon. There is always a dragon in these stories. I don't know why. I don't know how they contribute to all those stories.... But somehow they do.

This book that I bought (well, half bought. Mom paid $5 and I paid $5) was the only one that was different on the whole shelf.
It initially caught my eye a few months ago when I was at the (same) bookstore. The name was what caught my eye.
"No Place Like Holmes."
I remember pulling it out a few months ago and reading the back.... Something about a boy going to live with his uncle who lives at 221A Baker Street. I didn't really think much of it a few months ago - I thought the story took place in present day.
Well, yesterday when I was at the Christian bookstore I saw it again and started reading it.
Low and behold, the story doesn't take place in present day, but in 1903! I started reading and got hooked!
Not that the writing is particularly grand. The author (one Jason Lethcoe) has a habit of repeating the same thing over and over again and using too many words to say something. But the story is brilliant!
Not to mention the cover... LOVE it.

Griffin Sharpe is 12 years old and has the uncanny ability to notice everything. When he is sent by his parents in Boston to live with his uncle in London for the summer, Griffin becomes excited because his uncle lives at 221 Baker Street. Griffin, who has never meet or seen a picture of his uncle, assumes that the great detective Sherlock Holmes is his uncle. However, Griffin is solely mistaken.
He meets his uncle, Mr. Snodgrass, who lives in 221A Baker Street, not 221B. He is the downstairs neighbor of Sherlock Holmes and, strangely enough, Mr. Snodgrass is also a consulting detective! However, living below the world's most famous detective doesn't get Mr. Snodgrass much work. Oh yeah, and did I mention Mr. Snodgrass is a brilliant inventor with a mechanical butler named Watts, a vacuum cleaner, a lie detector, and other advanced inventions?
Mr. Snodgrass was not aware of Griffin's coming and gives the boy several harsh rules, including staying out of the flat from 6 in the morning, to 6 at night. On the first day, Griffin hails a hansom cab which nearly runs over a lady looking for Sherlock Holmes. Because the great detective isn't home, Griffin and his uncle take her case. And what a case it is! She claims her husband has been eaten by the Loch Ness Monster! There was even a witness who seems to be telling the truth (the lie detector doesn't lie).... And what about the 1500 kilograms of Chinese fireworks that were stolen from a cargo ship which also held several artifacts worth lots of money? Griffin is sure the two mysteries are connected... but how? And how to get Mr. Snodgrass to believe that the two are connected?

That's as far as I've read in the book.... I was really not expecting the mechanical butler. GREAT plot twist! Especially in 1903.... My question is, how did Mr. Snodgrass invent all these things? And if he's starving, why doesn't he sell his inventions? Unless he didn't invent them.....
Thus far, I have NO CLUE what is going to happen in the book. Usually I can sort of see where the book is headed (because it's obvious or I've read ahead and sort of know what's going to happen) but this book.... I honestly have no clue!
I really like Uncle Snodgrass. He absolutely hates Sherlock Holmes which makes the story pretty funny.
I also like Watts, the mechanical butler, though he hasn't been in the story very much.
And how did the Loch Ness Monster get from Ireland to the River Thames??
Another thing I really like about this book is that it's plot isn't about salvation. So many Christian books have themes centered around salvation (i.e. kid not Christian - has something happen to him - turns to God - loses friends - hangs onto God - finds new friends - happily ever after) and it's refreshing to have a Christian book that has a plot other than that, while still including God in the story. That's how I'm going to attempt to write my NaNoWriMo novel. Why read about salvation in fictional books when you can read about the REAL thing and experience it for yourself when reading the Bible?

And now I have to go to bed. You can probably expect a book review when I finish it....

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2.


  1. AHH! What a great post! What an amazing book. I'd love to get my hands on it sometime. I'm fanatic about pretty much anything Sherlock Holmes, and this sounds like the absolute perfect story. The plot is interesting and not cliched, and the characters sound very alive and believable.

    I was just talking about the name Snodgrass the other day. I could have sworn I'd read it ina book somewhere, and I thought it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but maybe you were telepathically communicating Mr. Snodgrass' name to me...

    Also, your description of the cliche youth fiction in Christian bookstores made me laugh out loud. It's SO true, though.

    Can't wait to read the review!

  2. Hmm...The plot DOES sound interesting. Unfortunately, it's getting kicked to the back of the line, which grows a lot on a regular basis...Especially since NaNo is putting almost every other than writing on hold.