Garvie Smith is a British teenager who, despite having the highest IQ at his school, has some of the lowest grades and abysmal ambition. His single mother threatens to move them both to her native Barbados if he doesn’t start performing better. This is a palpable threat to Garvie, as he doesn’t want to leave, but the only things that seem to motivate him to use his intellect are tricky puzzles, and there just aren’t enough of those. When his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dow, is murdered, Garvie is sure that Detective Inspector Singh is missing too many clues. As he delves deeper into Chloe’s life, Garvie finds himself unable to not solve the mystery.
The similarities to Sherlock Holmes cannot be overlooked in this fast-paced crime mystery from author Simon Mason. Garvie is sullen and withdrawn unless he has a really good conundrum to put his mind to, much like Holmes. And like Inspector Lestrade, D.I. Singh is intelligent and sharp, but still needs help from an outsider. There is no Watson to speak of in this book, but it will be interesting to see if Mason brings one in later installments to this new series. The associations are subtle and may be overlooked by some readers, but the whodunit is well done and is a nice addition to the canon of popular adaptations and rewritings of the famed detective.
Jennifer Bruer Kitchel is the librarian for a Pre-K through eighth level Catholic school.