Jiejie loves to read. From her very first independent reading of Geronimo Stilton book at the age of 5, there is no turning back from her discovery in the joy of reading. She prefers to indulge in fantasies, adventures, mysteries and detective works instead of princessy, fairies and girly books. The moment she received this new series of Sherlock Hong Adventures written by local author Don Bosco, she was thrilled with excitement and wasted no time in devouring all four titles in a day. It was one of the stay-home days during the last school holiday and she left me alone to declutter the house in peace.
Sherlock Hong, the protagonist, is a good-looking 15-year old detective who returned to Singapore from a boarding school in England. His adventures were set in the year 1891 in which he went around Singapore to solve mysteries. Currently there are only four titles in the series. The titles in the series are – The Immortal Nightingale, The Peranakan Princess, The Scroll of Greatness and The Legend of Lady Yue. Marshall Cavendish published the books under the young children series, meant for 8 to 12 years old and they are available at all Popular and Kinokuniya bookstores. I’ve read The Immortal Nightingale and The Legend of Lady Yue out of the set and will split the review into two posts. In this post, I’ll cover a short review of The Legend of Lady Yue as I’m keen to find out how Don introduced Chinese Sword-fighting to the kantang children of today.
In The Legend of Lady Yue, #4 out of 4 titles, Sherlock Hong returned with yet another adventure. It was the day the circus came to Lion City and everyone gathered at the pier to watch the animals’ incoming parade. Together with the arrival of the circus, his private tutor, Miss Priya, was found missing all of a sudden.
Her hotel room door was bombed and it was of no coincidence that the highly treasured manual – The Sword of Lady Yue went missing from her room. The Sword of Lady Yue was a classic sword-fighting manual written by a great swordswoman from the State of Yue in China more than 2500 years ago. The manual was to be reprinted in English and Miss Priya was appointed as the translator. It took a lengthy but necessary relationship with the assistance of Sherlock’s father, Master Hong, to get the manual out of the Han Academy and into the hands of Miss Priya.
Due to the mystery shrouding the disappearance of Miss Priya and the manual, Miss Priya was quickly rumoured to have been kidnapped by the ghosts as the year 1891 lies in an era of superstitious beliefs. Sherlock believed otherwise and went on an adventure to discover the mystery behind her disappearance. Who could be the culprit – Old Master Foo who had strongly pushed for his grandson to do the translation, Sherlock’s old enemy – William Fong the unscrupulous crook, or the mysterious man in black who was spotted outside her room door when the bombing happened?
Together with his friends, Aisha and Pui, the team picked up morse code in an attempt to decipher the weird knocking sound that came from some crates earlier in the day. Sherlock picked up a faint but strangely rhythmic sound earlier at the pier and while carrying out investigation works in Miss Priya’s room after the bombing. It kept ringing in his head as if to tell him something very important. Using the morse code, they uncovered a clue that did not instantly help them. What exactly does nam ho tai chi mean?
There was no time to be lost. If Sherlock could not solve the mystery as fast as possible, his father could be in grave danger. For the people from the Han Academy, the original protector of the manual, would surely send assassins after the life of Master Hong. Would Sherlock and his friends be able to solve the mystery? What dangers would they face along the way?
There has been many locally-published stories about the adventures around Singapore. However this series, set in the olden days of Singapore more than a century ago, opens up a whole new chapter of mystery and adventure happening around our island.
I would have loved a bit of illustrations here and there as I strongly believe that even the matured independent readers would love to have too. Illustrations bring about another dimensions of imagination and is especially so for the visual learners. Think the scene of crowd at the pier in anticipation of the arrival of circus. Think the scene about Sherlock jumping into a trance in order to coax some information from the superstitious security guard. While our generation would easily be able to imagine such scenes, I believe it won’t be easy for our children as they did not grow up exposed to such environment / neighbourhood. Hope to see some of it in future titles! 🙂
Personally, I love the plot and story development and found it a compelling read once I started on it. The story is fast-paced and through age-appropriate words in journalistic format, Don was able to capture reader’s attention very well. Indeed, I found myself chasing page after page furiously and suddenly found myself wondering how come I reached the last few pages. Did I skip any without realizing? I’m glad that Jiejie is able to enjoy the story just as well. Way to go!
This is an up and coming series that would really attract the primary school children with age-appropriate vocabulary. Hope to see 50 titles in no time! I would be a collector for the kids.
Buy online at http://www.marshallcavendish.com/marshallcavendish/genref/SearchResults.aspx?ti=sherlock%20hong&is=&au=&im= . Sherlock Hong Adventures is also available at all Popular and Kinokuniya bookstores.
About the Author
Don Bosco describes himself as “geeky, cheeky, and magicky”. His works include the Sherlock Hong series and the Time Talisman series. These Stories are full of fun, adventure, and mystery, all inspired by Asian history and culture. Don Bosco is also author of the bestselling Lion City Adventures. He lives in Singapore. To find out more, visit his website at www.supercoolbooks.com.
In the meantime, thanks to our sponsors at Super Cool Books and Marshall Cavendish, we have a set of Sherlock Hong Adventures to be given away to ONE (1) lucky reader, so start sharing to win!
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1) COMMENT on this blog post stating your Facebook Name. Answer the question : Which book title appeals to you most?
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- Giveaway ends 21 January 2016, Monday Thursday at 11.59PM.
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Good Luck and Happy Reading!
We have been blessed with 2 sets of the above series for review purposes. No monetary compensation has been received and all opinions and photographs are our own. Thank you for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums. If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates. We hope to see you back again soon.
~ SAys! Shirley 🙂
[Updated 25 Jan ’16]
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