- Age Range: 10 and up
- Grade Level: 4 - 6
- Series: Knightley and Son (Book 1)
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (July 12, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1619636867
- ISBN-13: 978-1619636866
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Knightley and Son Paperback – July 12, 2016
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"Heroes, villains and settings are all fully realized through proficient description, and contemporary technology gives way to sheer brainpower. A rousing page-turner with one fault: It ends." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Gavin has created a fun 'Sherlock Holmes'–style adventure, with modern twists and a bit of humor. The combination is skillfully done. This is a quick and fun read; a great choice for choice looking for a new mystery to dive into." ―School Library Journal
“Written in a style reminiscent of Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling, this rousing mystery feels fresh and creepy at the same time... A thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing read.” ―Library Media Connection
“Gavin deftly paces the story, maintaining the narrative tension... Fans of this debut will be glad that the ending leaves the door open for sequels.” ―Booklist
“Danger and excitement-not to mention quirky characters and wonderful writing-lurk around every page!” ―Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and co-author of Treasure Hunters
“Knightley & Son … succeeds in its dual plans of unmasking a nefarious conspiracy and captivating middle-grade readers” ―The Boston Globe, Pick of the Week
“Darkus has the calculating mind, the cool attention to detail, and the abundance of tweed of a young Sherlock Holmes... The mystery is genuinely compelling.” ―BCCB
“Chases around London, the help of a secret branch of Scotland Yard, and a host of quirky characters help drive this story.” ―VOYA
About the Author
Rohan Gavin is an author and screenwriter based in London. He is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and his enduring love of detective fiction, cars and conspiracy theories inspired him to write this book, the first in a series. Rohan is the son of award-winning children's author Jamila Gavin, and he recently became a father himself.
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Our "hero" is a quiet child named Darkus Knightly who's father Alan is in a coma. Darkus uses cold logic and a quiet calm to get him through each day, always believing that his Father will wake up and they will become detectives together. While he waits, Darkus practices his deductive reasoning skills and privately wonders how his sister changes her hair color so often. I enjoyed the dark shadowy Combination, and every single character from the bullies "hoodies" to Uncle Bill. The cadre of about eight main characters were distinct, funny, with personalities sometimes a bit two dimensional (the bumbling police officer, the mysterious Uncle Bill, the Belgium housekeeper) but it worked. For a Junior Fiction mystery, the bad guys need to be bad and evil, the good guys pure and sympathetic, and the foolish characters the perfect fools. There is even an absent minded professor with a small but important part to play.
For parents, there is little not to recommend this book. There are characters that are killed, but it is done in the fashion of the 1940's silver screen: "Oh No...." and the shadow falls. Then a detective stands over the body later going "He was stabbed". No gory details, just great story telling. Overall I recommend this book, and the ending was outstanding. I probably will re-read this book again just to catch all the details I missed the first time.
Darkus' dad Alan, has been in a coma for four years. Every week Darkus visits his dad, reviewing old case files and hoping his dad will awaken. His wish comes true one night when Alan Knightly hears the word, "combination" on TV and startles awake. Alan wastes no time escaping through a window and heading out into the darkness.
Darkus has spent the last four years going over every detail of his dad's investigations. The latest problem in London involves a book called The Code, and the freaky things it makes people do. When Alan and Darkus get together, they are on the case. Alan believes The Code is the work of a secret, evil group called The Combination. He believes they are behind many of the seemingly random acts of violence that has plagued London over the last decade. The problem is that Alan is still suffering side affects from his coma and is highly unreliable. It is up to Darkus to solve The Code and find out who is behind The Combination.
If you like Sherlock Holmes you will enjoy these characters. Both Alan and Darkus are highly intellectual beings that are able to deduce clues from uncanny logic. The difference is clear though, where Alan is cold and rational, Darkus has nice hints of emotion. The interplay between both characters is classically witty and amusing. There is also Darkus' step-sister Tilly, who I found a fun mystery. Just the idea that her hair randomly changes color is a great hook.
I love mysteries that involve clue hunts and mysterious characters. This book has both. I enjoyed following Darkus as one clue led to another and as the danger grew deeper. This series has great potential just because of Alan's belief in supernatural beings and events. There is such fodder there. I'm thinking young Harry Dresden ish, without Darkus being a wizard, but we'll have to see if that pans out in later books.
This book is so very British too. Such fun to read words that I didn't understand because the idioms are different. A jolly good read! 4 stars!
I found the premise of this story unique and interesting, but at the same time, some of the themes seemed a bit mature for the target audience. While I feel that my middle grade reader could comfortably read this one, he is an advanced reader and the same may not hold true for others in the age group.
The story takes place in England, so the English is British English and not American English like most children here in the US are accustomed to. Though, the Harry Potter sect would be fine.
I did have a sense that something was missing throughout the story, and I was never able to put my finger on what exactly that was.
It took me a lot longer than it should have to finish reading this one, and it could be the sense of something missing in the story that contributed to that. I am really not sure.
Even with that, I found the story interesting enough to still warrant a 3 star rating. It was well edited and a fairly easy read for me. The last half, however, definitely went faster than the first half.