Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral by Ridley Pearson (review)
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Pearson, Ridley Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral. Harper/HarperCollins, 2017 [432p](Lock and Key)
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-239904-5 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-239906-9 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5-8

Moria Moriarty, sister of the later-to-be-infamous James, returns to her story of family mysteries and the siblings’ involvement with classmate Sherlock Holmes, picking up weeks after the previous title, The Initiation (BCCB 9/16). Following their father’s death?/murder?, the Moriartys have reason to be uncertain about which of the family’s retainers can be trusted, and as they creep ever closer to solving this elemental problem, their father’s reputation suffers considerable tarnish. The legacy of Moriarty connections to a secret Baskerville Academy society traces its roots far back to the inception of the family business, and as James becomes increasingly burdened with his expected participation in the society, his propensity toward abrasive and withdrawn behavior increases as well. All along readers search not only for answers to the continuing mysteries but also for explanations behind the enmity that must ultimately develop between Sherlock Holmes and James. Here they get at least a piece of the answer, cleverly embedded into this contemporary plot. This may lie outside the Conan Doyle canon, but it’s thoroughly convincing and it will keep fans hounding after more revelations sure to come. Of the many Holmesian spinoffs on the youth literary market, this is definitely one worth following. [End Page 128]

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