The dragon tattoo by Tim Pigott-Smith

cover image

Hodder Children's Books,2008.
(Ages 8-12) The renowned actor Tim Pigott-Smith has turned his hand to writing and created an enjoyable Holmes-esque yarn surrounding the kidnap of a young girl whose father is mixed up with a sinister Chinese gang called the Dragons. The Irregulars are a band of youngsters who assist Sherlock Holmes in solving crimes and mysteries. The Dragon Tattoo tells the story of how they first come together in their efforts to find Holmes (who has disappeared in mysterious circumstances) and rescue Ann-Li from her dastardly kidnappers. Among the motley crew of Irregulars are Holmes' page boy Billy Chizzell, Sam almost as intuitive and devious as Holmes himself and Titch who has to disguise herself as a boy to survive on the streets of Victorian London.
A fun story, competently written and with sufficient excitement, plot twists and the occasional touch of pathos to satisfy most young readers. The references to Sherlock Holmes and Watson elevate the story from a routine adventure and with luck will entice youngsters to try Conan-Doyle himself. Chris Mould's atmospheric illustrations and Pigott-Smith's cinematic action sequences add to the suspense. It's all rounded off nicely with a sample of the Irregulars next adventure at the end of the book. Look out for The Rose of Africa published this autumn which is sure to please young readers eager for a series.
Claire Larson