The Baker Street Irregulars (BSI) are back to solve another mystery with Sherlock Holmes. A group of boys (and one girl) living just off the street, the gang has already established themselves as essential information gatherers for the famous detective; his eyes and ears throughout 19th century London. This third book in the series is a two-fold mystery; a famous scientist has been murdered at the museum, and shortly thereafter, Dr. Watson, Holmes’ constant companion, is kidnapped. The murdered archaeologist was on the brink of a monumental discovery. As the boys collect information relating to the murder and abduction, it is clear that their activities are observed when a gang of older, “gentlemen” boys who always turn up just as the BSI is getting close to discovering more information about the case. A spy is obviously working between the two groups. Clues abound in the library where he was conducting his research and within the catacombs of the city and the famous Tower of London. Woven within the two mysteries is the search of one of the BSI leaders for the identity of his real father. After some narrow escapes, they discover that one of their own has betrayed the gang, putting them all in mortal danger.
Secret codes, the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes and the true motives and involvement of his archenemy Professor Moriarty all work together to create a fascinating mystery for intermediate elementary school readers. Concluding with a glossary of slang terms, tips for the young cryptologist, the history of the Tower of London, and keen advice about disguises for would-be detectives, the book will appeal to mystery-lovers – especially those familiar with the story of Sherlock Holmes or previous books in the series. The voice of the narrator is particularly intriguing; while his identity is not revealed, his insight into the details of the gang and their whereabouts tells a story with plenty of action and suspense keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat as the clues lead to the archaeological discovery of the Temple of Diana and the diabolical plans of Professor Moriarty. Recommended for grades 4-7.
Author: Tracy Mack
Publisher: Scholastic, 2009
Reviewer: Kristine Wildner, Holy Apostles School, New Berlin, WI