The Beast of Blackslope

by Barrett, Tracy.
Series: The Sherlock files ; . 2 Edition statement:1st ed. Published by : Henry Holt, (New York :) Physical details: 174 p. ; 22 cm. ISBN:9780312659189; 9780312659189. Year: 2009
Item type Current location Call number Copy number Status Date due
Young Learners Books British Council Library
RED ZONE
JF/BAR (Browse shelf) 1 Available
Young Learners Books British Council Library
RED ZONE
JF/BAR (Browse shelf) 2 Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Xena and Xander have been looking forward to their vacation in the peaceful country village of Blackslope. But when a huge monster begins to terrorize the town, the young detectives are faced with a mystery that seems impossible to solve.
Sherlock Holmes, Xena and Xander's famous ancestor, investigated the case of a horrible beast in Blackslope, but that was nearly a hundred years ago. It couldn't be the same creature after all this time--could it?

Xena and Xander Holmes, an American brother and sister spending a year in England, use clues in their ancestor Sherlock Holmes' casebook as they try to solve the mystery of a monster threatening a peaceful country village where a documentary film is being made.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Beast of Blackslope CHAPTER 1 O woo-oo-ooo! The sound drifted through the air to the park where Xena and Xander Holmes were lying on their stomachs in the grass. "What was that ?" Xena sat up and pushed back her long dark hair. The eerie wailing sound had come from way off in the distance. It interrupted the Game she and Xander were playing and made her skin prickle. Xander stared toward the woods. "Um, a siren?" He didn't really believe it though. That had been a weird noise. It gave him goose bumps. "I guess." Xena wasn't convinced either. "A wolf, maybe? Do they have wolves here in England?" She knew Xander had been reading up on natural history for school. Xander had a photographic memory. He would remember any mention of wolves--especially because he had a phobia about wild animals. "Nope." Xander shook his head. "No wild ones, anyway. The English killed them all by the eighteenth century. And there can't be a wolf sanctuary or anything like that near here or Mom and Dad would have definitely mentioned it. And I would have convinced them to pick someplace else for vacation." "Well, maybe a dog, then." But Xena still felt uncomfortable. She'd never heard a dog make such a spooky sound. And now she felt that there was something creepy about the quiet town square in this little village. She shivered and decided to change the subject. If Xander thought there were wolves, or even something like them, nearby, he'd refuse to do any of the outdoor activities their parents had planned. "Let's play some more," Xena said. "It's still two-one, your favor." Their father had taught them the Game, and his father had taught him, and his father had taught him , all the way back to the inventor of the Game: their great-great-great-grandfather Sherlock Holmes. They had found out only a few weeks ago that they were descended from the famous detective, and they had already solved one of the cases in his notebook of unsolved mysteries. The Game was a good way to sharpen their detecting skills. The rules were simple: figure out something about passersby--like their job, where they come from, or what kind of mood they're in--just by observing them. "I wonder where everyone went," Xander said. "It's not dark yet, and there were lots of people around until a few minutes ago. How can we play the Game?" "Here comes somebody." Xena narrowed her eyes at the figure walking down the side of the road next to the park. Xander was getting too good at the Game, maybe even better than she had been at his age. But she was two years older, and she was determined to win this round. "Hmmm," Xander muttered. It was a kid about twelve years old, like Xena. How can I figure him out? he wondered. There's nothing unusual about him. The boy smiled as he passed. He had freckles, an upturned nose, and curly light brown hair. Xander saw a grin of triumph on Xena's face. Oh no--what had she seen? "City kid!" she said, and Xander looked at the boy again. The boy stumbled over something and almost fell. He disappeared around a corner. Xander groaned, because in that last secondhe too had spotted the monthly Tube pass sticking out of the boy's back pocket. It looked just like the transit passes the two of them used to get to school and around London. "Ha!" Xena said. "Two each! And the second one you got didn't really count." "Did too," Xander said. "Oh, okay." Xena could afford to be generous, because she had caught up. She stretched out on the grass and waited for another person to go by. This village seemed like a good place for their vacation, and she was excited about being somewhere other than London. Not that London wasn't a great city. She was really glad their dad had taken a one-year job there. She still missed her friends back home in the States, but she and Xander were attending a really cool school with kids from all over the world, and most of them were nice. She had even started liking Andrew Watson, whose great-great-great-grandfather had been Sherlock Holmes's best friend, and who went to their school. Thinking of Sherlock reminded Xena of something. "Xander, you did remember to pack the notebook, didn't you?" "Of course! You think I'd forget Sherlock's cold-case files? It's our best treasure." A week after they had arrived in London, Xena and Xander found the secret meeting place for the Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives--or the SPFD. The members of the SPFD believed that because Xena and Xander were descendants of Sherlock Holmes, they had the potential to be great detectives. The SPFD gave them Sherlock's notebook of unsolved cases, and Xander and Xena realized that some of those cases could still be cracked. "We never would have found the lost painting without the clues in the notebook," Xena said. She and Xander had solved the case of a painting that had been missing for more than a hundred years. "It would be so cool to solve another mystery," Xander said. "Not much chance of that on vacation though. Do you think--" Ooo-ooo-OOOOOOO! They both froze as the howl drifted down from the forest. It started long and low, rose to a higher pitch, then dropped again before dying out. "No way that was a siren!" Xena said. "Let's find out what it was!" She leaped up and ran in the direction of the eerie sound. When Xander didn't answer she glanced over her shoulder. Xander had disappeared. Copyright (c) 2009 by Parachute Publishing, LLC Excerpted from The Beast of Blackslope by Tracy Barrett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-While vacationing with their parents in an English village, supersleuth siblings Xena and Xander, who are descendants of Sherlock Holmes, plunge into an old mystery about a local terrorizing beast. Sketches and comments from Holmes's own cold-case notebook, when he investigated the case nearly 100 years earlier, together with "strange howls" in the night and sightings of a shaggy beast lurking in the nearby woods propel the youngsters to search for more clues. Exploring the forest, they slide into several exciting and suspenseful adventures. Barrett throws in enough red herrings as well as solid clues to keep ardent fans of the genre turning the pages until the surprise denouement. She plants the siblings' two new friends, Trevor and Ian, in key scenes at just the right moments to allow for the possibility of either boy being culpable in part of the mystery. Xena's methodical and calm rationality balances with Xander's intuitive imaginativeness so that they complement one another. Fans of Ron Roy's popular "A to Z Mysteries" series (Random) will delight in graduating to this series.-James K. Irwin, Sandy Library, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

This second entry in the Sherlock Files, which has Xander and Xena Holmes in possession of their ancestor Sherlock's cold-case files, riffs a bit on The Hound of the Baskervilles, though maybe less than one would think. The brother and sister find themselves in the country village of Blackslope, where 100 years ago Sherlock failed to get to the bottom of the rumors surrounding a monstrous beast in the woods, a creature that seems to have reappeared. A few mild thrills, solid detective work, and a zippy pace make this a nice choice, and it may just lead kids to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist

Horn Book Review

Is the Sasquatch-like creature from Sherlock Holmes's unsolved case notes roaming around the English countryside again, a century later? The famous detective's great-great-great-grandchildren, Xena and Xander, are determined to find out (even if Xander is afraid of wild animals). Multiple suspects and red herrings keep mystery fans engrossed, though the anticlimactic solution proposed for Sherlock's original case may disappoint readers. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

It's one thing to discover that Sherlock Holmes was your ancestor. It's another thing entirely to attempt to find the solutions to his long-unsolved cases. Back for their second adventure, Xena and Xander Holmes find that their family vacation to the sleepy village of Blackslope yields yet another mystery for them to solve. When a mysterious howling is heard by our heroes, none of the townspeople want to discuss it. Why? It appears that one of Holmes's unsolved mysteries involved an elusive Blackslope beast, never captured. The siblings pursue a variety of clues and, after some false starts, unmask the true culprit. Barrett plunges right into the action from the first sentence, giving fans of classic mysteries exactly what they want: thrills, chills, a plethora of suspects and plenty of red herrings. The solution to Holmes's beast-related mystery is presented as more of an afterthought than anything else, but it's doubtful any young fans will particularly care. A fun series continues unabated. (Mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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