Uncle Theodosius has returned from one of his journeys around the world and has brought back a most peculiar specimen: a dodo bird, which everyone believes to be extinct. The bad thing is that the poor creature has a lot of enemies, almost all of whom attend the welcome-home party held by James Moriarty's father in honour of the explorer. James Moriarty may not be the most sociable or pleasant boy in the world, but when he sets his mind to something, nothing can stop him. A mystery in which you'll meet the Dodo, Darwin, a school mistress with secrets, a little killer dressed in black, a baroness with a glass eye, a gourmet who will eat anything, an African enchantress, a ruined aristocrat, a lying actress, the author of Alice in Wonderland, Alice herself, and a giant African land snail.
The “El joven Moriarty” novels are a series of books aimed at children aged from around 10 years old and tell the story of the childhood of the character of Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes novels, and his transformation into the supervillain he became as the archenemy of the famous detective. Written by novelist and poet Sofia Rhei, author of a series of fantasy novels for young adults, the novels offer a funny, clever and original take on one of the most famous secondary characters in detective fiction.
The novels are set in 19th century England and make clever use of historical and geographical context. Some of the key intellectuals, writers and scientists of the time make appearances in the stories (…). The novels also make a point of including some of the key discoveries, inventions, and traditions of the time (…)
The novels are funny, clever and offer a different take on a well-known character. The structure follows that of a traditional English ‘whodunnit’ with the expected big denouement at the end revealing the answer to the mystery. The character of James is well drawn and enough of an antihero to provide an element of ‘cool’ for a reader of the target age.
In my opinion these novels would work very well in translation and, despite being aimed at young adults, they are a good read for both adults and children alike.
From the reader´s report by Jennifer Arnold