Adapted by: Murray Shaw and M.J. Cosson
Illustrated by: Sophie Rohrbach and J.T. Morrow
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 2012
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were partners in crime ... in solving them that is. They were friends who had taken up residence at 221B Baker Street in London and were often called upon to solve the most unusual mysteries and ferreting out criminal activity. One morning Sherlock Holmes was up early pondering the criminal mind and how it had "lost all originality." Dr. Watson was sympathetic and sat down to listen to him. After poring through the newspapers Holmes lamented, "My practice is fated to become an agency for finding lost hats and advising the bewildered."
Alas, Sherlock Holmes may have been right because he had recently received a letter from Miss Violet Hunter requesting that he advise her on whether or not she should accept a governess position offered by a Mr. Jephro Rucastle. Why, there was no mystery in that or was there? When Violet came to 221B Baker, she had the most unusual story. Mr. Rucastle, without knowing her qualifications, had asked her to become little Edward's governess at Copper Beeches. The pay would be exorbitant, but he had some very unusual requests.
Edward was a "real romper," but that was to be expected. The odd thing was that Mr. Rucastle seemed pleased with his rotten behavior and proudly said, "You should see him kill cockroaches. Three are gone before you know it!" Eeeww! He then requested that she cut her hair and wear a certain dress his wife was fond of. There was not much chance of her accepting the job, but when he upped the ante to one hundred and twenty pounds a year, Violet could not resist. Things began to get stranger and more frightening. Why was a half starved dog roaming the grounds? Why was there an identical coil of hair like hers in a dresser drawer? Who was that strange man peering at her through a window?
I've read several of the Holmes and Watson cases and this is by far the most unusual. Even Sherlock Holmes appears to be mystified by what Violet told him about her strange new job. The further into the tale I went, the weirder it seemed to become with a starving dog, a mysterious man, the lock of hair, and a secret room. The young detective will have a lot of fun figuring out this case along with two detectives. Holmes, as usual, has a nose for the seemingly unsolvable and he works diligently to assist Violet in her dilemma. For those who need a little help, Dr. Watson has written out the answers to questions you might ponder over. For example, he tells you why Holmes was suspicious of Mr. Rucastle. The artwork in this graphic novel meshes well with the tale, a tale that the amateur detective and reluctant reader will love reading. In the back of the book are additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes have a most unusual mystery to solve when Violet arrives in a panic.