cover image The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall (The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall #1)

The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall (The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall #1)

Ali Standish. HarperCollins, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-327557-7

In 1868 Edinburgh, Arthur Conan Doyle is a boy who notices things, and his observations are “almost never wrong.” An unexpected scholarship to Britain’s prestigious Baskerville Hall is Arthur’s ticket to making something of himself. Upon arrival, though, a chance to join a powerful secret society tests his integrity, while break-ins lead Arthur and his friends on a perilous investigation. So begins this meta mystery series starter written in partnership with the Conan Doyle Estate and Working Partners, which imagines the Sherlock Holmes author as the hero of his own childhood capers. In a narrative voice that melds wry humor with convincing period detail, Standish (Yonder) situates Baskerville Hall against the vivid backdrop of Victorian society on the cusp of great cultural and scientific change. The mix of canonical characters and fresh faces will appeal to Conan Doyle fans as well as newcomers to the author’s genre-spanning universe. Throughout this tautly constructed tale of suspense, adventure and academic exploration are central pillars of young Arthur’s unusual education—as Baskerville Hall’s headmaster tells the young protagonist upon his arrival at school, “risks must be taken in the service of knowledge.” It’s a tantalizing playground for inquisitive minds. Characters are portrayed with various skin tones. Ages 8–12. Agent: Chelsea Eberly, Greenhouse Literary. (Sept.)