Skip to main content

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, Casebook No. 2: The Mystery of the Conjured Man

Review

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, Casebook No. 2: The Mystery of the Conjured Man

When a beautiful woman seeks help discovering what caused her aunt’s sudden death during a séance, the Baker Street Irregulars are once again summoned to 221B Baker Street, home of the legendary master detective Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes summons the Irregulars, a band of 12 clever and resourceful orphan boys, because of their ability to blend in with any environment and adapt to any circumstance. The famous and easily recognizable Holmes hires them to note the comings and goings of visitors to the mansion where the deadly séance was held.

The Baker Street Irregulars, particularly Wiggins and Ozzie, are developing into strong, unique and appealing characters. Shirley, Wiggins’s brave and loyal ferret, is also taking on an important role. Pilar, a familiar character in the first book, makes a repeat appearance. She and her mother, Madame Estrella, are called upon to play a part in solving the crime.

The compelling subplot of Ozzie trying to locate his Great-Aunt Agatha so he can find out the identity of his father has captured my curiosity. Clues and subtle hints give rise to speculation, but it will be interesting to find out if Ozzie is successful in his quest. The playful voice of the narrator at the beginning of the book is appealing. His (or her) identity is also an intriguing demi-mystery.

As with the first book in the series, the unusual setting, an engaging cast of young and likable characters, quirky dialogue and a skillfully woven plot make for great reading fun. It is clear that Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin have done their research because the historical details and witty dialogue pop.

Once again, the section at the back of the book, “Facts and Practicals for the Aspiring Detective,” contains useful tools to help readers become acquainted with historic facts and Victorian-era dialect. Notably, they should have fun reading about “The Art of Disguise” and “Medium Con Artists.” I know I did.

Because of the emerging and distinct voices of the Irregulars, along with the familiar deductions of the famous master detective Sherlock Holmes, I found THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN a thoroughly enjoyable book. The engaging mystery, interesting subject matter and setting, and underlying message of teamwork, loyalty and courage should resonate with middle-grade readers --- and their parents.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on June 1, 2009

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, Casebook No. 2: The Mystery of the Conjured Man
by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2009
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0439836670
  • ISBN-13: 9780439836678