torachan: (holmes/watson)
Title: Christie High Tension (Young Miss Holmes)
Author: Shintani Kaoru
Number of Volumes: 7
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon summary: Christie Holmes is a prodigy. At ten years old, she's as familiar with the sciences and classics as any older student at Cambridge or Oxford. And her facility with logic is reminiscent of her uncle, the eminent Sherlock Holmes himself. So, what's a brilliant young girl to do when her parents are away in India, leaving her behind in the care of maids and servants? Solve mysteries, of course. Along with her giant hound Nelson, Christie's implacable curiosity leads her from one dangerous adventure to another, often joining forces with Uncle Sherlock and Doctor Watson on their famed investigations. Christie may look pint-sized, but her clever mind is never to be underestimated!

Review: As I was reading this, I couldn't help thinking that it sounded like something many people on my flist would really, really love, and the good thing is, it's available in English! (Or at least the first volume (which is vols. 1 and 2 of the original) is, with vol. 2 (containing the Japanese vols. 3 & 4) coming out in November.)

Christie is Sherlock Holmes' niece (Hplmes is her mother's brother) and also secretly related to Queen Victoria on her father's side. She's a ten-year-old genius who is shown to be Holmes' equal in intellect, if not in experience. When Holmes is unavailable, Scotland Yard relies on her. You might be tempted to call her a Mary Sue. But the stories are really well-written and engaging and the characters are all awesome. In addition to Christie, we also have her maids, Nora and Anne Marie, one of whom is a master of the whip and the other is a master markswoman. Oh, and her governess Grace is also awesome. Holmes and Watson do appear in most stories, but only in supporting roles. The focus is all on Christie.

At first I was disappointed that this was retellings of the original Holmes stories rather than Christie solving mysteries of her own, but I ended up really liking the premise, especially as the stories get further than further from the originals as the series goes on (and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, the final story in the series, is actually an entirely original story based only on one line in another Holmes story where he mentions something about a giant rat of Sumatra). Although these are the original Holmes mysteries, it's not about Christie secretly solving them instead of Holmes or otherwise outsmarting him or something. There are a few where he is busy with some other case and she solves them instead, but mostly it's about them both taking part in the case, with Holmes ahead due to his experience, but Christie also deducing stuff and coming to the same conclusions. And sometimes they are working on different angles and what Christie comes up with ends up giving Holmes the final clue he needs or whatever.

Anyway! Apparently there's a sequel series running now where Christie is a young adult, but it only started last fall and hasn't been released in tankobon form yet. I'm looking forward to it, though, as I really enjoyed these!

Oh, and while the premise may make you think it's shoujo, it's actually a seinen series, but it's not loli fanservice central or anything. There were a couple moments where it felt fanservicey, but 99.9% of the time not. Also it runs in the same magazine as Dance in the Vampire Bund (which is, on the other hand, almost entirely fanservice) and there is a crossover in one case, but you don't have to be familiar with Bund to enjoy the story.


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