Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I thought we were done with goats. I thought we only made offerings of sheep.

I started reading A Study in Charlotte because I finished The Vanishing Stair and desperately wanted to read more YA mystery novels. I was not disappointed, this book was amazing, and had an amazing mystery as well.

The main characters in this book are descendants from the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, and his partner John Watson. Making them descendants of the two was a much better choice than merely making it a retelling of the original stories. This allowed for the characters to grow in themselves, and actually be modern people with whom you can relate.

This is not to say that the characters don’t hold a certain semblance to their forefathers, because they do. But in a way where it’s believable, it seems more like it’s their upbringing that forces them into these situations, and not so much fate pulling them there because of their families.

Jamie Watson, the narrator, has grown up only hearing of the Holmes family, so he has all these stories in his head about what they’re like and he sort of believes in this idea of fate. His and Charlotte Holmes’ entire relationship is played out against the backdrop of their family history and the expectations that neither of them can escape.

But I had never wanted to be her boyfriend. I wanted something smaller than that, and far, far bigger, something I couldn’t yet put into words.

Now because it is a Holmes and Watson novel, to some capacity, it does need to be focussed on a mystery, and this mystery certainly doesn’t disappoint. With little knowledge of the original Sherlock Holmes novels I did find myself slightly confused at times when those were mentioned, but not to any degree where I found it to worsen to the reading experience.

The dynamic between Watson and Holmes is something that affects the mystery a lot, as well as how it gets dealt with. The two have to maneuver a new friendship, at the same time they’re trying to solve a murder, so the relationship will obviously play a part in the development of the plot.

The night before I was to go to the jail, the prisoner hung himself.

This was a great first book in a series, Cavallaro wrote the characters amazingly, and just similar enough to the originals that it made sense, but so much that they didn’t feel like their own people. The mystery was interesting to read, and didn’t cut any corners in terms of the suspense build up.



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