Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: The Baker Street Four Vol. 1 by J. B. Djian et al.

The Baker Street Four Volume 1 written by J. B. Djian and Olivier Legrand, art by David Etien

Sherlock Holmes often used some street youths as part of his investigations, calling them the Baker Street Irregulars. They were perfect for gathering intelligence, following people, or staking out places. In this story, three of the children (Billy, Charlie, and Tom) along with their cat, have their own investigations while Mr. Holmes is out of town. First, Tom's girlfriend Betty is kidnapped and they have to find her. Second, Russian immigrant Viktor is falsely accused of murder and the immigrant's girlfriend needs help. Sounds like a great premise for a kids' graphic novel, right?

Well, Betty is being sex-trafficked; Viktor agitates for a workers' revolution and is being framed as a new Jack the Ripper by the Tsarist secret police, who are apparently all over Europe manipulating events. The stories are interesting but not kid-friendly. The art wallows in the squalor of late 19th century London, with a bit more blood, violence, and foul language (even from the kids) than I want my seven- or nine-year old to see.

The book has a big disconnect between its premise and its execution, leaving me unsatisfied as a reader and glad I didn't let my children read it before I did.

Not recommended.

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