Young Miss Holmes: Casebook 3 – 4

Young Miss HolmesThe indomitable Miss Christie Holmes Hope is back! After establishing herself as possessing an intellect worthy of the Holmes name in the last casebook, volumes 3 and 4 see her turning her attention to solving the case of the Hounds of the Baskervilles, as well as smaller cases such as The Five Orange Pips and The Red Headed League. Fans of the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle will not find many surprises here as the manga follows the original plots fairly closely. The stories are set in Victorian England, with Miss Christie’s relative freedom of movement explained by having absent parents (her mother is Sherlock’s sister, hence the different last name) and a lenient chaperone and maid. This manga is a fresh way of looking at the stories, as Christie races to solve the case before her uncle.

In the first two volumes, Christie’s intellect quickly earned her the respect of John Watson and Scotland Yard. But she generally just amuses or exasperates her famous uncle. While she does not work directly with Sherlock in this series, she is often working on the same case from a different angle and is the one to explain the solutions. One nice detail about these books is how each volume concludes the case — there may be cliffhangers from chapter to chapter, but not from book to book. So each book can be read independently of the others, without the reader missing any major plot points.

Except for Christie and her maids, there is not a lot of character development (and not too much for the maids either). Since these books follow Doyle’s plot lines closely, this makes sense. Doyle writes about the mystery Holmes is solving, not the nuances of every character. The art is strong, if very much in the classic manga style, with Miss Holmes having overly huge eyes and all her dresses being frothy concoctions of lace and more lace. They seem to fall somewhere between a shojo manga and a mystery. The books also read back to front.

Young Miss Holmes: Casebook 3 – 4
by Kaoru Shintani
ISBN: 978-193593494
Seven Seas, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: (9 and up)

  • The first chapter shows boy detective Conan concluding a case from the last book. Like many of his stories, it’s Encyclopedia Brown-like — if you can find the single wrong item or recall the obscure knowledge that forms a clue, you’re well on your way to solving the case — only here it turns on a piece of trivia that the reader is unlikely to be familiar with. The key elements, the tiles from a Shogi game and how they map to kanji characters in proper names, are very Japanese, so those who enjoy manga because of its exoticism will be thrilled.