The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Scarlet Phantom by Robert J. Harris

The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Scarlet Phantom by Robert J. Harris. Kelpies, 9781782506089, 2020

Format: Soft-cover, 237 pages

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Fiction/Mystery

What did you like about the book? The third book in this series takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1873.  Artie and his pal Ham, Edward Hamilton, are out of school and on their way to solve another mystery.  With the help of a new friend, Peril, they are tracking an invisible jewelry thief who leaves a calling card before each crime.  As in previous books, Harris’ setting includes actual landmarks from the town of Edinburgh, such as Arthur’s Seat, yet does not delve so much into the time period that readers are confused by dated vocabulary.  Newly promoted, Inspector McCorkle is quite reliant on Doyle and his friends to help solve this mystery.  Each crime will have readers wondering who the culprit could be; twists and turns add to the plot as our heroes look for clues and even get thrown off the case.  Circumstances leave Artie and his team questioning their ability to be real detectives.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Back-story is minimal if you have not read the other books in the series yet, the story can be read on its own.  The story is engaging, yet the characters are flat without much depth.

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers in grades 3 and up, who enjoy mysteries or detective stories such as Encyclopedia Brown or Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this title. 

Where would you shelve it? Fiction/Mystery

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  I feel that this title would reside near the top of the “to read” pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Elena Schuck, Nathaniel H. Wixon School Library, Dennis, Massachusetts

Date of review: August 20, 2020

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