Mystery Stories for Kids that Satisfy the Young Sleuth
By Shivani Shah
We’ve seen some excellent adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories (and, indeed, the character) ever since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous creation entered the public domain. Elementary has taken the character out of London and created new mysteries for him to solve, while Sherlock has taken him to present day and merged his famous cases to create compelling, modern story lines. Both are TV shows, however, and are for adults.
Why should adults have all the fun?
They don’t – not with The Sherlock Holmes Connection, that is. In a collaboration between two Indian and two Swedish authors, the spirit of Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in four original stories for kids, which feature four different child “detectives” connected through Holmes’s magnifying glass.
The Sherlock Holmes Connection is a unique take on Doyle’s legacy because the stories aren’t adaptations. While some of the mysteries make reference to Doyle’s work, what connects these stories to the legendary character are his defining traits – deduction and perseverance. Sherlock Holmes was never one to shy away from a good mystery, and neither are the stories’ sleuths. Using his time-tested methods, the young detectives of The Sherlock Holmes Connection solve crimes that all have an emotional thread. In Martin Widmark’s “In the Middle of the Rose,” young Stefan Eriksson must solve the mystery of his mother’s apparent suicide so he – and his father – can find answers. Anushka Ravishankar’s heroine Jyotsna helps her friend Varun understand his parents’ voluntary disappearance in “Detective Boy.” Julia and her new friend Siri locate a missing pocket watch that has particular significance for its owner in “The Girl in the Photograph.” And in “Best Boys,” Hriday and Melvin must help their friend Travis, who has been framed for a serious crime.
Each of the young detectives solves their crime with a little help. When they most need it, a benevolent woman loans them an old magnifying glass with the initials “S.H.” engraved on it. These three women across four stories are various Ms. Watsons – descendants of Holmes’s best friend and chronicler of his adventures, Dr. John Watson.
The Sherlock Holmes Connection injects a little freshness into an old canon by using two settings, India and Sweden, to show young readers that curiosity, love, friendship, and loyalty are universal. These children’s mysteries are beautifully written for kids aged 10 and older and are an excellent gateway to the genius of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the original Sherlock Holmes. Since mystery is the theme, I can well imagine it kindling the interest of young readers to read more mystery stories and perhaps set them to bend their powers of deduction on real life, too. Anything that encourages children to put on their thinking caps and read more is a winner in my book.