What Child is This? by Bonnie MacBird – review

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Published by Collins Crime Club

Publication date – 13 October 2022

Source – review copy

It’s Christmastime in London, and Sherlock Holmes takes on two cases. The angelic three-year-old child of a wealthy couple is the target of a vicious kidnapper, and a country aristocrat worries that his handsome, favourite son has mysteriously vanished from his London pied à terre. Holmes and Watson, aided by the colourful Heffie O’Malley, slip slide in the ice to ensure a merry Christmas is had by nearly everybody . . .

Holmes and Watson are getting ready for Christmas. Or rather Watson is. Holmes could do very well without the holiday celebrations. As they are walking in town one day they stop the attempted kidnapping of little boy. Soon they are drawn into a world of two different social classes with the benefits of one and the trials of another. Alongside this they are also investigating the disappearance of an aristocrat’s son.

This is the first book by Bonnie MacBird I have read. She reimagines Holmes and Watson, and takes us back to Victorian London. Watson is still as patient as always with Holmes’ foibles, whilst Holmes does what he does best, using his sharp mind and honed observation skills to dig out the truth.

It soon becomes apparent to the pair that the parents of the little boy, whilst grateful for Holmes’ intervention in the attempted kidnapping, are hiding secrets of their own. Without giving too much of the plot away, the pair’s investigation takes them from society drawing rooms to the work house, from monied entitlement to the seediest of business premises.

Whilst this investigation is ongoing, Holmes and Watson are also tasked with finding the son of an aristocrat, who hasn’t been seen for many months. Dismissing the idea that the man is abroad, they set about looking into his movements and those of his valet, who appears to have light fingers.

There is no murder in this book, no killer to be located but there are two puzzles to solve. Clues are dotted around to help the reader and the detectives. Also interspersed are illustrations by Frank Cho which help the reader visualise the story but also lend the book an older feel, reminiscent of the days when such stories as these were serialised and accompanied by illustrations.

An enjoyable historical crime novel feature two beloved characters.

You can buy a copy of the book here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may make a small amount should you purchase through it. You can also buy What Child is This from your local independent bookshop.)

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