Author: Ridley Pearson
Date of publication: September 2016
In the pantheon of literature’s more impressive villains, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest nemesis, James Moriarty, stands alone. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes him in the classic tale “The Final Solution,” Moriarty is a genius, a philosopher, and a spider in the center of his web. Set in modern times and focusing on Moriarty's bone-chilling beginnings, this middle grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmes—and the true nature of evil.
Our story begins when James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome—but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville’s hallowed halls. And now so too must James. It’s at Baskerville where James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever!
This is the second re-imagining of the Holmes/Moriarty duo set in modern times that I have read in the past year. In this one, we meed James Moriarty and his sister Moria who get sent to Baskerville Academy for high school. James's roommate is Sherlock Holmes from London who is there on scholarship. James get messages with hidden clues and begins to follow them not realizing there may be danger ahead.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I did think it is a good middle grade level mystery. There are some clever puzzles to solve amid the pages that give it a mysterious air. It was very much a first book in a series as it lays the groundwork for the characters and the world. I liked Sherlock and his willingness to make friends with James. His character was very true to form as he is very intelligent and speaks his mind. I also enjoyed Moria's character, She is definitely the smarter of the two siblings. I also enjoyed her friendship with Sherlock.
What I didn't really care for was James. He was whiny. ungrateful and plain rude. It wasn't hard to see why he would become an evil mastermind in his later years. Frankly, as a teen, I found him annoying. The story ends with a lot of unanswered questions that I hope will be answered in the next book.