Elementary, Dear Watson | Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

23272028Rating: 4.5 Stars


The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Trigger Warnings: Drug addiction

  • Characters:

It captures the personalities of the original Holmes and Watson, while keeping the retold characters aware of the similarity of their lives to everything that happened one hundred years ago. Holmes as Charlotte Holmes remains much the same, in the way of his we know and love; in how she seeks justice recklessly and in a fashion that isn’t always parallel with the law. Watson is also alike to his namesake; while having his own brilliance, he remains often unknowing of what goes on in Holmes’ head, and as a teen I found him precious ❤ Take this for example:

“I hit snooze over and over in some wild hope that the morning would just pack up and leave me alone.”

This, is me. #RELATABLE.

Something else I really loved about this book’s characters, is how even though Charlotte is a Holmes, she is still herself. Charlotte remains Charlotte and Sherlock remains Sherlock. Later in the book I got to see what was truth from what was only Watson’s point of view, and it really added another layer to the story and some character development that I as happy to see!

  • Writing and pace:

It reads like a thriller tv series, and I can definitely imagine seeing it on tv. I think it’s probably because after 2 million years when I’d finish a chapter, it’d end with a plot twist or two and that would make me automatically start the next chapter which would be equally as long and that would kind of frustrate me because I NEED TO TEND TO MY MORTAL NEEDS BUT I’M TOO OCD TO STOP AT THE MIDDLE OF A CHAPTER #heLP Else than that, the writing really shows Jamie’s personality and thinking, rather than being only an account of events in the first person.

  • Plot and setting:

In this book, someone is recreating the murders from the books; the trope isn’t exactly new. It was done in And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Except with Sherlock Holmes books, not a rhyme. As someone who read at least a few of the stories mentioned, I’m totally loving this.

I did not see the ending coming, and had a few identity crises finding out the truth 😂 and may I take a second to very maturely and professionally specify exactly how much I LOVE WATSON *flail* !!!!
This book is not a retelling as much as it is a kind of ‘reincarnation’. I don’t know from where I got the idea it was a retelling, but if you got it too, then now you know it isn’t. In the book, the events of Sherlock Holmes are very much real, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was merely a literary agent to the original Holmes and Watson. Charlotte Holmes and James Watson here are descendants ( Although it does sound highly unlikely, given Sherlock’s attitude towards romantic relationships. ).

I thought it creative that the equivalent of 221 Baker Street is some sort of big lab-turned supply-closet which is Sciences 442. 442 being 221 times 2. Close enough to the original, and far enough not to make everything seem like a very unlikely coincidence.

  • Conclusion:

All in all, the characters were fleshed out and memorable and the plot was suspenseful. The writing style from Watson’s view was witty, at times relatable, and many times humourous. My only complaint about it would how long the chapters were. But as to the story itself, I quite enjoyed it, and fully intend on picking up the next book of the series, The Last of August.

9 thoughts on “Elementary, Dear Watson | Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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  1. I actually really liked this book! I read it earlier this year and I loved the dynamic between Charlotte and Jamie. They were reflections of the original Holmes and Watson without being carbon copies of the them. The twist at the end was surprisingly unpredictable and the humor was spot on. It really was fast-paced. There was hardly a minute of repose and the mystery aspect kept me engaged from beginning to end. Watson was definitely the best character for me. He was too precious ❤ The only thing that bothered me was the inclusion of drug addiction without a conversation to follow. I understand Sherlock Holmes suffered from the same issue, but since Charlotte is a teen, I thought there would be more talk surrounding it?? But other than that, I really enjoyed this one and it's absolutely wonderful that you did, too! I'll definitely have to buy the next book soon 😀 Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I thought about that too ! I understand how Charlotte didn’t want to talk about it, and that she was stubborn. But I thought there should have been some discussion somehow, like what she really feels that pushes her to drugs, and an attempt at dealing with those feelings. Or maybe Charlotte could’ve been clean in the present, but not in the past. So that the book doesn’t transform into either an account of that particular issue or lacking in it. At least at the very end we get to see an improvement about that!
      I think fondly on this book, and I’m really curious about the sequel’s title ! I’ll be picking it up soon too ! Can’t wait to see what you think of it 😁 And thank you 💙 !!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was certainly a missed opportunity to spur on some form of conversation about teenage drug abuse, but maybe it might be further addressed in the second book! I really hope the second book is as good as the first, if not better 😀 You’ll probably get around to reading it before I do, though, so I’ll be on the lookout for your review!


      2. *rubs hands together like a schemer* Ah, I do love a good cliffhanger. Most certainly looking forward to that! (Sarcasm has been initiated).


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