The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas is the first in the proposed Baker Street Irregulars new series from Scholastic and I think it’s a great start. It begins with three tightrope walkers falling to their deaths in a London Circus and introduces the gang of street urchins that helps the great Sherlock Holmes in his crime-solving.
Holmes has another case involving a missing and very valuable book and while he and Watson are solving other leads, the Irregulars, led by Wiggins and Ozzie, get down to business with the circus folk.
The boys are all interesting and colorful characters with different stories and strengths. Ozzie in particular has quite a bit of depth and color. He’s the sick one of the bunch and very frail but has a razor sharp memory and an uncanny skill in copying documents. Wiggins is the leader and he’s the protective papa of the bunch, always looking out for the others. I expect we'll find out more about the others in future books.
Besides the boys, there is the wonderful character of Pilar, whom they meet in the circus. Pilar is a Spanish gypsy girl (fortune-teller's daughter) and seems to be able to genuinely see the future while going into a trance. She adds a dash of spice to the gaggle of boys.
The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas is full of details, reads like a casebook and has fine illustrations which give the book a good flavor. There’s Cockney slang, a glimpse of what life was like for the poor children of that time. It has a old style Victorian feel to it which gives the book a sense of authenticity.
Both boys and girls will love the book for its sense of fun and adventure. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.