By Juan Calvillo
“A Question of Holmes” is the final book in Brittany Cavallaro’s Sherlockian series.
It has continued the partnership of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson only reimagined as teenagers with the angst and problems that come with adolescence.
This version of the Holmes story finds Charlotte Holmes partnered with Jamie Watson.
The series uses the passing of time to make the reader believe that the families of Holmes and Watson continued to the present day.
It does not try to replace the original, but instead expands the families.
The one thing that remains constant is the solving of mysteries that connects this series to the original created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
During the first two novels, Watson was the voice of the story. Having Holmes as the storyteller in the final novel is illuminating.
The reader gets to understand the angst and uncertain mind of the character more.
This leads to moments that are revelatory, dumbfounding and at times hilarious.
It’s also important to the story as this final chapter in Holmes’ story is about personal growth and finding out who she is really meant to be.
Watson is still the same character from the the previous novels, but wiser.
His character arc seems like the constant lighthouse trying to signal out to the unpredictable Holmes adrift at sea.
He has gone from the infatuated fan of the Holmes family to being a respected and cared for member of the team.
Thus, Watson begins to stretch himself out, becoming more like the writer and partner he wants to be for himself and for Holmes.
Opening in England, which is a change from the previous novels’ U.S. setting, Holmes strives to become a better person.
Watson has ventured from the U.S. to join his partner at a summer college program at Oxford.
Both characters have decided to turn the intensity of their lives down after their previous troubles early in the novels. Starting school at Oxford, brings the introduction of new characters that are part of the larger mystery from the offset.
Holmes and Watson meet three school friends.
Cavallaro does an admirable job making these new characters interesting and individualistic.
Rupert Davies is the best friend and romantic punching bag to the duo of Theo and Anwen.
The trio are part of the production of “Hamlet” that Holmes was asked to participate in.
The crux of the story becomes trying to protect the students of the acting group from a mysterious villain that threatens those that are taking part in the play.
This same villain is part of the larger mystery that includes a missing girl from the same acting group.
As the story unfolds, it becomes interesting to see how Holmes deduces many of the elements of the mystery while still making the reader unable to guess who the culprit is.
Despite the interesting tidbits of mystery sleuthing, it comes back to the evolution of the Holmes’s character.
Holmes constantly questions herself and her partnership with Watson.
She often wonders if he will simply get bored of her if they live more mundane lives.
She also questions what she actually wants to do with herself. Throughout the book it is shown that maybe going to college or university is not something she may actually want.
The decision Holmes makes in the end is heartbreaking, but obvious.
“A Question of Holmes” is an emotional ending to a series that has had fun action and intriguing mysteries throughout its run.
Reading the previous three books in the series truly helps flesh out the characters, but in this final book the Holmes and Watson partnership undergoes so much change that it’s almost like reading about entirely new characters.
The finale to the tale that started years ago is more than satisfying, and getting to read each characters’ evolution to adulthood is truly fun.