By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by: Murray Shaw
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2012
Dr. John Watson lived with Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street for many years until his marriage. Holmes was a man of many talents, but one of his best was his ability to solve some of the most unsolvable crimes, least ways unsolvable to the average person. Dr. Watson was so intrigued with this ability, he continued to assist Holmes solve a crime at any opportunity. One "blazing hot day" in August of 1892, they sat together browsing the local papers when Holmes began to discuss a most intriguing mystery. Apparently Miss Susan Cushing of Croydon had received a package with utterly horrifying contents..."two freshly cut human ears."
Miss Cushing was a quiet maiden who had no idea who had pulled such a prank, save perhaps some medical students she used to rent to. Obviously they got those ears from a "dissecting room." Mmmmmm, this looked like it would be one of those unsolvable cases and soon Holmes received a letter from one of the lead detectives, Mr. Lestrade, asking for his assistance. Holmes and Watson were soon off to ask a few questions. First Holmes wanted to interview Miss Cushing. After a brief conversation, a look at the package (ugh!), a look around the room, and the two were on their way to check out a few clues.
Miss Cushing hadn't given them a lot of information, but to Holmes even a crumb told him a lot. Time was of the essence and Holmes exclaimed, as they grabbed a cab, "Watson, we must strike while the iron is hot." Holmes had learned there was a bit of turmoil in the family and immediately headed to Miss Sarah Cushing, Susan's sister, only to be turned away because she was ill. Within moments Holmes was confident that he knew who the murderer was. Dr. Watson, of course was astounded and asked, "But Holmes, what information do we have to go on? Nothing certain has been revealed." Ah, but there was. How did Holmes know someone was murdered by looking at two ears and how in the world did he know who did it by making a couple of inquiries?
This mystery is a bit more ghoulish than some of the others because of the contents of the package, but despite the lack of obvious clues, Holmes easily solves the case. In the back of the book Dr. Watson gives the young reader a step-by-step synopsis of just how Holmes went about solving the case. When the reader flips back through the pages and puts on his or her thinking cap, they may experience that "ah" moment and see how it was accomplished. The mystery, told in a graphic novel format, is perfect for reluctant readers and may spur them on to become fans of Holmes and Watson. The flashback panels are sepia toned and easily separated from the more colorful, current ones. In the back of the book Dr. Watson explains just how Holmes solves the crime and you can find additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes team up once again to find out who sent a ghastly package and solve two murders.