While vacationing in a sleepy little French town Irene Adler makes the acquaintance of Sherlock and Lupin and the three immediately strike up a friendship. One day they happen across a corpse of a stranger that is supposedly the product of a suicide. But it doesn’t quite fit and very soon the trio have embarked on an investigation that will lead them through a gang of hoodlums and criminal underworld. In the course of their adventure they must discover the identity of the corpse and the reasons for his death as well as the identity of the shadowy figure, “the dark lady”, who witnessed the three children discover the body.
Ten or so years ago action-packed The Dark Lady would have left me drooling over the storyline and eagerly awaiting the second installment. Since then my reading habits have matured, but as this book is marketed towards younger readers I shall try to review with this in mind. When I seen this book I knew I had to read it. As a long-time Sherlock Holmes fan with plans to read the Arsène Lupin stories some day I thought this looked like a fun read. And with a few exceptions it is just that.
The Dark Lady was brimming with adventure that will leave children craving for more. The mystery isn’t too heavy so for children who want to get into Sherlock Holmes but might find the mystery aspect of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories too advanced this is just the thing to give them.
Now for the aforementioned exceptions: What was rather annoying was the farcical dialogue compounded with an event or two that really didn’t impact the story. Perhaps the events created a few thrillers but it wasn’t really relevant to the story. I was not emotionally engaged with the characters which is something I always hope for in a story. Irene Adler is a selfish ninny intent on proving herself whether she is in the wrong or the right. Deception is complimented, encouraged even. Disrespect of parents (i.e. mother) is something Irene is very good at. When such elements are taken into account this isn’t a very wholesome book to be handing over to children; not if honesty and respect are to be instilled. Entertainment-wise it would be a good book for children. Similar to The Boxcar Children but with characters people have loved for more than a century.
On another note I found the formatting of the ebook to be first-rate. One of the best I’ve seen in my experience with various ebooks that I have borrowed and own.
DISCLAIMER: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” we would like to note that we received an electronic copy of “The Dark Lady” from NetGalley.com provided by the publishers, Capstone Young Readers, in exchange for our honest review.