The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)
By Brittany Cavallaro
Genre: Sherlock Reimagination/Mystery
Expected Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Bang Bang Rating:
Picking up from The Last Study in Charlotte, it’s winter break and Holmes and Watson plan to spend their vacation with Watson’s family in London then Holmes’ family in Sussex. Everything at the Holmes estate is expectedly weird when Charlotte’s uncle mysteriously goes missing. With the assistance of Charlotte’s brother and August Moriarty, Holmes and Watson find themselves deep in the art forgery world as they travel all over the European art scene to find the beloved uncle.
Last of August is book two in the series with the Last Study in Charlotte being Cavallaro’s debut. Cavallaro is an exceptional writer. In book two, Holmes has shut down as the result of a sexual assault in book one all the while trying to figure out her feeling for Watson. The first two chapters reveals a compassionate Watson who is trying to help Holmes open up but he’s met with mixed signals. Because most of the book is from Watson’s POV, we only see his struggles with their relationship. The beginning of the novel is a bit slow but Cavallaro is taking her time setting up the extremely complicated relationship between the friends. We eventually get Holmes POV for a couple of chapters and I felt it was honest and quite heartbreaking. Their relationship could have been predictable with petty jealousy and immature arguments but Cavallaro’s characters are quite mature and behave accordingly.
In true Sherlock fashion, there are several mysteries happening at once which keeps the pacing fast. Once again, the story is told from Watson’s POV and Holmes intentionally doesn’t share vital information with him but Watson wants to be useful and gets himself in some sticky situations. Holmes is always five steps ahead of everyone else but she’s so intuitive, you totally buy it. The running question in this novel and the TV show is why Holmes needs Watson when he, or in this case she, could figure it out on his own. Last of August explores this and the reader learns why Watson is so vital.
The main mystery is the lost uncle and the art forgery. I will admit that I’m not an art lover and as a teen librarian, I know that not many teens are either. I’m worried that the art part of the book will lose some teens because I found myself much more interested in the other mysteries. With that being said, I think this mystery was written well. I also loved Cavalarro’s vivid imagery of Berlin and the Wall and Prague. I Google mapped Prague so I could see the fairy tale city.
We finally get to meet Milo, Holmes’ brother, and August Moriarty. Moriarty is torn between his family and wanted to end this endless feud. Although Milo is only on the page for brief moments, you really know who he is which is a compliment to Cavallaro who writes a strong character that doesn’t appear on the page for most of the novel. I really hope we get to see more Milo in book three.
The ending might leaving you thinking, “Yeah, right.” but if you are a fan of the TV show, you’ll understand that all of this is incredibly plausible.
It’s quite clear that Cavallaro is a BIG Sherlock Holmes fan. Cavallaro takes inspiration from the original Sherlock Holmes stories complete with easter eggs. If you are a big Sherlock fan, you will have fun finding all of the eggs. The Last of August is jam packed with complex characters, beautiful cities, and What the Hells! I highly recommend it for fans of Sherlock and perhaps upper level teen readers.