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To see a listing of 100's of Sherlock Holmes Pastiches with abbreviated reviews, please visit: List of Sherlock Holmes Pastiches
Sherlock Holmes Pastiches and Reviews:
"The Children of Sherlock Holmes by Dr. Ben F. Eller" Reviewed By Scott Harker
Publisher: Pendium, Copyright 2008, First Edition.
When I first saw the title
The Children of Sherlock Holmes by Dr. Ben F. Eller, I immediately assumed this novel was about the actual children of Sherlock Holmes - there are many pastiches where children and grandchildren of the Great Detective have continued in the family tradition of solving mysteries. But this is not the case for this book.
Instead the children referred to in the title are the homeless children of Victorian London. Thousands of whom were forced into working in shops and factories, where they often were chained to desks and work areas. Finally to be released after 12 hours of work, to be paid with a meager meal and bed. Victorian England had no child labor laws and children were thought of and treated as property...
Dr. Eller is an expert in the field of child labor and points out, in the preface, that there are still 250 million children, world wide, aged 5-14, who, as child laborers, work under horrific conditions, not to mention the child-sex trade that continues...
But this novel is not a political or social tirade. It is a well written story where Holmes and Watson explore one of the dark secrets of the 1890's London.
The Story: The book begins with the tale of two young brothers who are sold by their poor and alcoholic parents into an "apprenticeship" to a butcher's shop. The butcher is a cruel man who forces the two children to work long hours cutting up carcasses. If they do not do a certain amount of work, they do not eat... They are routinely beaten and abused.
The two brothers "survive" their ordeal and eventually set-up their own butcher and tanning factory employing hundreds of orphaned children.
Holmes is asked to investigate the unusual number of deaths at the factory. And it is through this request, that Holmes and Watson enter a world where children are exploited, enslaved and murdered.
During his investigation, Holmes confronts the owners of the factory and Members of Parliament. Brings to light the flesh trade of children to the Middle East and solves the mystery of the dead children who still lived...
The Writing: The fact that Sherlock Holmes does not appear in the first third of the book and is not missed, should tell you that this is a well written story that pulls you in, immediately.
Dr. Ben F. Eller brings you a world of corruption, where horrors abound for the unfortunate victims of poverty - homeless, orphaned and sold children. There are graphic descriptions of vile settings and behavior, which are not for the faint of stomach. The plot takes us to the edge of these nightmares and then brings us back. Some of the events that take place in this book are disturbing, even more so because they are based upon reality.
The characters are interesting and real, whether they be children or adults. You become invested in their fates.
And finally, the presentation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is well done, slightly different from other authors, but filled with the abilities and nobilities that keep me coming back to them.
The Rating: ...
I am giving this novel, a rating of 4 "Pipes." This is a book you should get. It explores a part of Victorian England that I do not believe anyone else has. And it well uses Holmes and Watson. I might suggest, though, that this book is for a more mature reader.
To purchase this book on Amazon, visit: The Children of Sherlock Holmes
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Sherlock Holmes: Mrs. Hudson's heart - A review of Mrs. Hudson on the Jeremy Britt version of Sherlock Holmes.
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