Move over Nancy Drew—there’s a new detective in town and her name is Portia Adams! Jewel of the Thames: A Portia Adams Adventure (Fierce Ink Press) by Angela Misri follows Portia Adams, the newest consulting detective to take up residence in 221B Baker Street, the former office of Holmes and Watson. Following the death of her mother, Portia is whisked away to London by her guardian, a woman she’s never met, to live in an apartment bequeathed to her by a grandfather she never knew about: Dr. Watson. As Portia adjusts to her knew life and unusual heritage, she follows her natural sleuthing ability into one mystery after another. Jewel of the Thames contains her first three casebooks.
With her debut novel, Misri fills a niche that I have otherwise found severely lacking among young-adult novels: mystery. Now, when I say mystery I don’t mean mystery/thriller/paranormal/whathaveyou. I mean mystery. Period. No extra strings. Just a good old-fashioned whodunnit! And I love that about this book! As a kid I would gobble up whodunnit short stories always eager to see if I could work out the solution before the detective. Oddly enough, Sherlock never made that list (possibly because I thought it would be too “adult” for my taste). But Portia Adams’ adventures make me want to go out and devour those classic stories, too. A book that encourages the reading of other books? Always a plus! Throw in a brave, curious and intelligent female lead and I’m sold!
The pace is slow, but in a savory way rather than tiresome. It’s a great read to curl up with and get lost in. Portia’s 1930s London is painted with vivid detail and, when told through Portia’s extra-observant eyes, all of the sights, sounds and smells come easily to the imagination.
Also, I am in love with this book’s cover design… *sigh* So pretty.
I find it very interesting that the three casebooks stand on their own, while still carrying Portia’s story forward. It is an unusual format but it fits Portia’s story/setting well. It is like getting three books for the price of one!
It’s a brave thing to take on a figure as well-known as Sherlock Holmes and create something new and engaging, but Misri pulls it off. There is more to Portia than meets the eye and I’m looking forward to what she’ll get up to next in her continued sleuthing adventures. Clever and well-conceived, Jewel of the Thames is a must for mystery lovers. Can you figure out whodunnit?
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)