A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro || Book Review

“I love you. I’ve never in my life loved anything more.”

Synopsis: Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson think they’re finally in the clear. They’ve left Sherringford School—and the Moriartys—behind for a pre-college summer program at Oxford University. A chance to start from scratch and explore dating for the first time, while exploring a new city with all the freedom their program provides. But when they arrive, Charlotte is immediately drawn into a new case: a series of accidents have been befalling the members of the community theater troupe in Oxford, and now, on the eve of their production of Hamlet, they’re starting all over again. What once seemed like a comedy of errors is now a race to prevent the next tragedy—before Charlotte or Jamie is the next victim.

Source: Goodreads

Title: A Question of Holmes
Series: Charlotte Holmes, Book Four
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Links: Amazon CA | Book Depository | Goodreads

Genre / Themes: Contemporary | Mystery | Retelling | Romance
Point of View: First Person

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304

And here we are … the last book in this long yet epic buddy read! So many people seem to love this book. I feel bad saying this … but it was honestly “meh” to me. I originally had this as a 3 star rating … but as I began to write my review, I realized I had WAY more “woes” than “pros”. If it wasn’t for Charlotte and Jamie’s adorable connection, this would’ve been a one star rather than 2 star rating.

CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding absent parent (abandonment), blood, death (murder — mentioned), drugs (drug addiction — mentioned), kidnapping, pills, rape (sexual assault — mentioned) and trauma (PTSD).

The Charlotte Holmes series’ focus on character growth is impeccable, closing off the characters’ stories in a balance and thought out manner. Charlotte and Jamie go through SO many changes during the entire series, conquering fears and demons as they become the individuals they are at the end of the final novel. Not all of their traumas and struggles are wrapped up neatly with a pretty little bow, but they’ve learned to not let these things control how they live their lives. In addition, not all the other side characters overcome their own struggles — but this made the whole story feel much more realistic and authentic to a number of the sensitive topics discussed in this series.

Though ambiguous, the ending provides closure yet leaves doors open. Many people don’t seem to enjoy the conclusion to A Question of Holmes, as it doesn’t FINALIZE what’s to come for Jamie and Charlotte in the future. For me, I rather enjoyed this. The author provides a PRETTY big hint at where the direction of Jamie and Charlotte’s futures take place, but allows room for us to explore our own thoughts on the matter. And honestly, life isn’t full of absolutes … it’s full of multiple paths and adventures for us to explore.

Charlotte’s point of view (POV) alone was dull at times, making me miss Jamie’s perspective throughout the entire novel. Though Charlotte’s an incredible character, her point of view is rather factual and “to-the-point” (for the most part). This matches PERFECTLY with her personality, but I grew bored after a while. Jamie’s perspective’s much more emotional and descriptive, drawing me into the story much more. I truly wish Cavallaro had done an alternating POV between these two again.

The mystery in A Question of Holmes was the most anti-climatic and predictable out of all the books in the series. Honestly, I don’t feel like this novel was a mystery story whatsoever — it was more of a coming of age novel, which would’ve been fine if the premise wasn’t Charlotte and Jamie solving mysteries this entire time. The mystery’s rather dull and lacks that EXCITEMENT and SUSPENSE felt in the first three novels (at least, one and three). Honestly, the entire thing felt over-the-top yet utterly mundane all at once.

There’s a REAL lack of action and suspense in this novel, especially in comparison to its predecessors. For me, a GOOD mystery (whether a cozy or hard-boiled, etc.) always has (at least) some action and suspenseful elements to it — it’s just what draws a lot of readers in! But in this story, there were NO parts where I was on the edge of my seat, desperately hoping Jamie and Charlotte escaped whatever trouble they got themselves into. It was all just so … uneventful and pedestrian.

In the end, I simply wanted more from the last novel … but it felt incomplete and unsatisfactory. It’s as though Cavallaro just wanted to be done with the series, quickly tying up loose ends and closing off this chapter in her writing experience. There’s little depth to the “villains”, the story, the mystery and many other elements in this novel — making this an extremely disappointing ending to “what was” a grand YA mystery series.

Cavallaro’s A Question of Holmes finally comes to a close on Jamie and Charlotte’s grand adventures, closing one chapter yet showing the start of a new one. Though the final book lacks that mystery and action element, I have no regrets reading this series. Watching Jamie and Charlotte grow from the first to the final novel has been an amazing experience, especially as a character oriented reader. If there was more to the final book in this series, I think this would be a well rounded mystery YA series.

Oh! And there’s a lovely little surprise in this book that I WASN’T expecting … you’ll know it when you read it.

I DO recommend this novel if you enjoy:

↠ Character oriented novels
↠ Retelling’s of classics
↠ An ambiguous ending

I DO NOT recommend this novel if you dislike:

↠ Little to no action
↠ An underdeveloped plot
↠ A mystery that LACKS mystery
↠ A predictable outcome

Have you read Brittany Cavallaro’s A Question of Holmes?

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Author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, both the Tumblr and WordPress book review blogs. I'm a tea drinking, book loving librarian who just loves literature.

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