Becoming Holmes by Shane Peacock is the concluding book in “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” series. Mr. Peacock writes this series with the intent of exploring how Sherlock Holmes became Sherlock Holmes. This book picks up several months after the prior book in the series with announcements of the death of Charles Dickens. Sherlock is in a funk, foreshadowing the man he will become. He desperately needs something exciting to get him moving. His mentor, Sigerson Bell, is getting older and his health is waning as he tries to help Sherlock throughout the book. Sherlock’s father has passed away, leaving only a distant brother as his family.
We learn that Malefactor (Dr. Moriarty) is on the rise and has infiltrated London’s governmental structures with his men being planted in key positions, ready to be promoted into positions of influence. Holmes learns of this after going to meet his brother on his way to work at the Treasury. He runs into one of Malefactor’s henchman and learns that he is next in line for a prominent position in the department. Holmes quickly realizes that Malefactor plans to take over parts of the government and is moved out of his doldrums into action.
Along the way we meet familiar characters in the Holmes stories – Lestrade, Irene, Moriarty, and even a hint of Watson. Mr. Peacock also wraps up many of the storylines of characters we’ve become familiar with in this series. Holmes implores them to treat the man he will become as if they’ve never met before. He decides to forgo relationships with those who mean much to him in order to be the crime fighter he must be. Some of these breaking of ties feel a little forced, but do match what we know of Holmes the man.
This is the final case before Holmes moves on to young adulthood. He knows that Malefactor must be stopped. Holmes partners with the police in an attempt to bring him to justice while solving the murder of one of Malefactor’s henchmen. I was a little disappointed with the way this was handled in the story as it just didn’t seem to match my picture of Sherlock Holmes. I will not go into details here as that would give away some major parts of the story and the book is still a good read even if I don’t like that particular part of the story. Despite that part, I think that Mr. Peacock does a great job in showing the growth of a young man into the future detective he will be. There are still a lot of questions we can ask, but those can be left for another story and another day.
Disclaimer: I was given a preview copy of Becoming Holmes with nothing expected in return. An unbiased review was requested, but not mandatory. I was not influenced in any way by the publishers or author to change my opinion of this product.