By Shane Peacock

Sherlock Holmes, just thirteen, is a misfit. His highborn mother is the daughter of an aristocratic family, his father a poor Jew. Their marriage flouts tradition and makes them social pariahs in the London of the 1860s; and their son, Sherlock, bears the burden of their rebellion. Friendless, bullied at school, he belongs nowhere and has only his wits to help him make his way.

But what wits they are! His keen powers of observation are already apparent, though he is still a boy. He loves to amuse himself by constructing histories from the smallest detail for everyone he meets. Partly for fun, he focuses his attention on a sensational murder to see if he can solve it. But his game turns deadly serious when he finds himself the accused — and in London, they hang boys of thirteen.


It is 1868, the week that Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister of the Empire. Sherlock's beautiful but poor admirer, Beatrice, the hatter's daughter, appears at the door late at night. She is terrified, claiming that she and her friend have just been attacked by the Spring Heeled Jack on Westminster Bridge and the fiend has made off with her friend. At first Sherlock thinks Beatrice simply wants his attention, and he is reluctant to go back to detective work. He also believes that the Jack everyone fears is a fictional figure. But soon he is suspicious of various individuals, several of them close friends.


In Vanishing Girl, Holmes attempts to beat Scotland Yard to the solution of the kidnapping and burglary crimes. In the process of discovering the answers and solving the riddles, Holmes learns more about himself as a young man, as a friend, and as a detective. He employs many of the technical skills he has begun to learn to solve the crimes, but the real reward arrives when he learns what kind of person he will choose to be.


This sequel to Eye of the Crow  continues as Sherlock Holmes, 13, tries to prove his worth to Scotland Yard and become "a new sort of London detective, the scourge of every villain." Witnessing the tragic fall of a famous trapeze artist, he utilizes his limited resources, including a new mentor who happens to be a brilliant alchemist, and his own deductive skills to convince others that the fall was no accident.