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Secret Letters Hardcover – June 26, 2012

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"With secret codes, illicit love affairs, disguises, deception, and murder--not to mention an intriguing leading man and feisty, smart heroine--what's not to love?" --Booklist

Well-paced and filled with cliff-hanger chapter endings, Scheier's first filled with aspects of criminology-code breaking, secret messages, disguises, trysts, kidnapping, and, of course, murder-that are sure to excite CSI fans. This novel, part-romance and part-detective story, begs for a sequel.-- School Library Journal (STARRED review)

Amidst twisting plots, multiple mysteries, and a budding romance, Dora and Peter work together to solve a mystery of a kidnapped engaging read that holds the reader's attention throughout.. the setting in Victorian London with references to Sherlock Holmes could attract more than just the usual mystery readers. ---VOYA

In a mystery with twists, the threat of danger,and a dramatic resolution, debut author Scheier offers a tenacious heroine determined to rise above the restrictions of her gender to claim her legacy.Upbeat, witty prose results in a fun beginning to what looks like the first of more adventures for this young pair of investigators--Publisher's Weekly

From the Back Cover

"I had proposed that we make this trip to see the London detective not only because I wished him to help save my cousin from scandal, but because I had been waiting years for an opportunity to meet him. And the reason that I had been waiting years to meet him? Well, that was the greatest secret of all."

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423124057
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423124054
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,507,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Check out for more information!

Leah Scheier was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. As a child, she was inspired by her favorite authors, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lloyd Alexander, and C.S. Lewis to dream up tales of adventure and romance. Now grown up with three daughters of her own, Leah works as a pediatrician and continues to create new stories.
Her first novel, SECRET LETTERS (Hyperion/Disney), received a starred review from School Library Journal and glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and VOYA. Her second novel, YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, is due to be released September 1, 2015 (Sourcebooks Fire).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chelsey Lynn on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely love this author! Leah is probably one of the kindest that I have run across since I have been blogging! Her writing is just as sweet as her nature. She took a storyline with a Sherlock twist and made it a masterpiece. When an author takes an already well known piece of literature like Sherlock Holmes or any fairy tale, they are taking a chance in retelling it. All of the classics are already great so to rewrite one with a modern day twist or even a spin off in any context or genre is taking a huge risk. Leah, you did not disappoint, at least not in my opinion!

I have always wondered how authors go about writing mystery novels because they, of course, have to know the ending before they write it or at least have a good idea of where the story line is going to take them. Often times readers can pick up early what is going to take place in novels such as this. I was completely enthralled the entire time that I was reading this book. Even though I could guess which characters were involved I still was shocked and thrown off track by the end of the book. Leah added tiny little surprises that were waiting for readers within each chapter.

Dora is not your typical main female character. She is confident in herself but has a subtle way of showing it. This, again, is a time period when women were not meant to share the same professions or maybe even hobbies as men. Dora was a skilled investigator and she knew that, but she had to be careful as to how she let others on to her little secret. She is very inquisitive and like Sherlock, she does not give up when she knows there may just be a clue in her midst. Dora comes off as a mild mannered female lead and that is a nice change opposed to the attitude and sassy heroine that we are so used to reading about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By malloryjade on July 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an intriguing novel! I was immediately grabbed with the summary, and it was not misleading! Secret Letters was an intriguing, page flipping book that keeps you guessing! I mean, the idea of Sherlock Holmes' daughter is creative and (as far as I know) never thought of before! Dora is a sweet, yet strong heroine and the perfect detective. Her intelligence and observation skills astound me and remind me of the Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter! Peter was dashing and so considerate of Dora and sets the heart a-flutter! A wonderful tale, and I am eagerly wishing for a sequel, although it just came out so I know it will be some time. You will be missing out if you don't find some way to get your hands on this book!
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Format: Paperback
My reaction: I had a lot of issues with Secret Letters, but it was still an enjoyable, entertaining enough read.

To start off with, you have to take the whole book with a grain (or perhaps several) of salt. The entire premise is somewhat far-fetched; even the idea that Dora would be assisting on a mystery case requires a suspension of disbelief. She's so overconfident in her abilities, especially in the first half of the story, and really manages to bungle things up sometimes. There was more than one occasion where I'd go, "Dora, you idiot! Why are you doing this???" in my head. This makes for some very cringe-worthy scenes where you're embarrassed for her because you know she's doing or saying something stupid and it's not going to end well. (During some of these I was quite tempted to skip ahead rather than sit there thinking, "Oh no, she didn't just say that...")

There were also some moments that just seemed too preposterous to be believable. For instance, some of the climactic scenes took on a comedic tone at times that I didn't feel was really appropriate. I wanted to be submerged in this dramatic setting, and instead the villains would be chuckling! Or there'd be people pointing guns all over the place and it just seemed farcical instead of full of tension, and I'd be going, "I just don't buy this, it's too ridiculous."

I will acknowledge that Dora did grow on me as the story progressed. Thankfully, I think she learns a bit of humility by the end (helped along by Peter Cartwright, who is only too willing to help her realize she can make mistakes), so that was good to see. I like that she was able to recognize her failings (to some extent, anyway). And she certainly doesn't lack curiosity or chutzpah.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an exciting and entertaining historical mystery. Dora Joyce is sixteen and being raised in the house of an aunt. Her parents died of cholera but, before she passed away, her mother confessed that her father was the famous Sherlock Holmes. Dora became fascinated by the stories about him in the newspaper and became interested in meeting him and becoming a detective herself. Unfortunately, well-bred Victorian girls didn't have that as a career option. Her interest in detection just made her odd. But, when an older cousin confesses that she is being blackmailed because of some indiscreet letters she wrote before her marriage, Dora seizes the opportunity to meet Sherlock Holmes and investigate.

Cousin Adelaide and Dora travel to London but Dora meets a severe setback. As soon as she arrives she learns that Sherlock Holmes has perished in an accident in Switzerland. She almost faints and is rescued by seventeen-year-old Peter Cartwright who knew Holmes and who now works for another detective. Cousin Adelaide consults with the new detective and Dora is determined to be part of the investigation. When she "accidentally" leaves her purse behind she has an excuse to visit again. During that visit she overhears Lord Hartfield consult with the detectives about his missing daughter.

Things happen and Dora finds herself at Hartfield's home posing as a scullery maid to try to find out who is blackmailing her cousin and what happened to Hartfield's daughter. There are lots of exciting happenings and lots of banter between Peter Cartwright and Dora. Peter and Dora work together and manage to solve both cases.

I think what I liked most about this mystery was to whole setting. I was really immersed in the Victorian mindset.
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