The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       March 6, 2017


Author  Elizabeth Eulberg, illustrated by Matt Robertson

Distributor:      Bloomsbury
ISBN:                 9781408871478
Publisher:         Bloomsbury Child
Release Date:   February 2017  

Website:    http:/ 

It is no coincidence that our heroine, girl detective Shelby, has the surname Holmes. She is almost every bit as clever at deductive reasoning, as her namesake Sherlock. When John Watson moves in next door, it is inevitable that he will be drawn into Shelby’s mindful escapades. There are many issues addressed in this book, quite well interwoven into the story and many are resolved or put into perspective as the story unfolds.

 John and his mother have moved to their new home from an army base. His mother was in the army in Afghanistan, and his father has decided not to move with them. This is the first time John will stay in the one place for a lengthy time, and the first time that he is able to make friends, without knowing he will have to move on soon. The location John’s mother has chosen is Harlem, and she is strict about the dangers that face John if he becomes lost.

 Sitting on the front porch, John meets Shelby, who is taking a dog for a walk. She invites him to come along and join them, although she is too busy observing, to be very friendly. Shelby is greeting by people as they walk along. The Pizza man offers her a free pizza, which much to John’s   astonishment, she politely declines. Shelby reveals that she solved a problem for the shop keeper, who is truly grateful.

 Then there comes a huge challenge. Shelby is asked to help to discover a missing show dog. A wealthy family owns several pets, but Daisy the dog has gone missing. Shelby with John as her assistant has a delicate and puzzling mystery to solve. She explains to her assistant “I look at the brain like it’s an empty attic….You decide how you’re going to pack it”, he learns to observe and check body language.

 While the sleuthing is taking place, issues such as friendship (which John explains to Shelby), family relations, and confidence, are explored.  The book is for proficient readers, and has many interesting forensic facets to follow. The illustrations are small, but add to the overall feeling of the story. It is always enjoyable to find a book which encapsulates a variety of themes.