Book – Solving Sherlock Holmes
Author – Pierre Berloquin
Star rating - ★★★☆☆
No. of Pages – 192
Genre – Comic, Puzzle Book, Children's, Mystery
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH PUBLISHER **
NOTE: I don't re-review books. I don't re-write reviews and I don't re-evaluate my reviews later. However, I made an exception for this book for one reason → the first time I received it, as an e-book from Netgalley, vital pages were missing that made it impossible to get beyond page one. I literally did not read the book the first time around. The publisher, after reading my initial review, was kind enough to offer a hard back copy (with the missing pages included) so that I could read and properly review. I agreed.
The story begins with a short introduction, explaining how the book works, how to use it properly, and also introducing the concept of Sherlock Holmes and the puzzles. There was a great deal of detail put into the creation of this book and it's clear right from the outset.
On every page is one “brain teaser” and, unfortunately, I found it very difficult to solve these and follow the story along the planned lines. Having discalcula – which makes if very difficult for me to work with numbers, and do any simple math – almost made it impossible for me to follow the clues from one chapter to the next. If the plan were to simply follow the hints in the boxes, that would be easier and much more fun, but the longer I was at it, the more frustrated I felt that I couldn't get the answer, that I couldn't fathom out where to go next, and how to piece it all together.
I presumed that the book – being in a comic book/illustrated style, with puzzles – was meant for anyone who had an interest in puzzles and Sherlock Holmes, but I found myself lost amongst a sea of mathematical calculations and “logic” tests that had my head spinning before the end of Chapter 1. Some of the puzzles alone had my brain aching from trying to do the math and piece together the logic, at the same time, but then the “hint” box at the bottom would require additional work – either adding more numbers to the answer or making the puzzle even more difficult with more requirements. In the end, I found myself floundering a lot, and eventually gave up and read all the remaining pages of the chapter that I hadn't come by through puzzles, just to get an idea of the storyline and how it progressed. Honestly, I still have no idea how Chapter 1 came to have mention of a Cheetah or a Baboon.
As a reviewer and writer, it was easy to spot to so-called 'difficult' clues of spelling mistakes in each story, which came together to propose an overall clue. This was, sadly, the easiest part of the book and the easiest puzzle to solve.
If you were short on patience and time, this wouldn't be a book for you. Some of the puzzles are logic, mathematical, simple drawing of lines etc, so they all involve a little work, even if it's only mental. Even reading and following the story takes a little more time than normal, because you're flipping between Chapters and constantly having to refer to the maps.
Overall, this had so much potential, but it's just not the book for me. While I absolutely love the idea and the concept, the way it's been executed and the whole package, it's not suitable for someone in my condition. Chapter 1, with all its mathematical calculations and confusing hints, gave me a migraine, and I'm not brave enough to try to read any more, after that. This book isn't for anyone who is short on time, patience or who has difficulty with maths.
I mistakenly thought that this would be excellent for children, when I first saw it offered on Netgalley. I assumed that it would be a fantastic gift to introduce a child or teenager to Sherlock Holmes, in a fun and exciting way that involved them, that invigorated them and included them in the solving of the story. However, either I'm a complete dunce or children/teens wouldn't be capable of solving these puzzles without difficulty. I certainty couldn't.