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Reviewed by Tracy Traynor for Readers' Favorite
The Adventures of Sir Locke the Gnome by Martin Klubeck is a fantasy mystery for children but would probably be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Latswin Gilshire (think Watson) is a cleric and soon-to-be author. His best friend (although Locke would probably prefer associate) is the sharp-witted, budding detective, Sinben Locke Ariji Umji Merfiz Holgrim—more famously known as Sir Locke. Latswin describes the adventures as they happen as he follows Locke into the six mysteries. Locke's brilliant deductive mind follows the clues and proves his brilliance with each tale. Their talents don't stop in the realm of the gnomes, though. In Aethrofell, we discover all manner of creatures, from humans to bullywogs (delightful frog-like people with a penchant for shiny things).
The Adventures of Sir Locke the Gnome fits perfectly into middle-grade adventure. Engaging and creative, I think 8-12-year-olds will thoroughly enjoy these six short books rolled into one. I love the play on names from Sherlock to Sir Locke. Subtle life lessons slipped into the narrative, such as not judging someone by their appearance, add to the wholesomeness of reading for fun and education. The book's tone is very much in keeping with Arthur Conan Doyle (I think he would have been delighted to read this), but the setting and characters bring to mind Enid Blyton, especially her Faraway Tree stories. Martin Klubeck has perfectly merged mystery and fairytale, creating a unique set of short stories that will engage and delight everyone. The narrator perfectly captures the characters' uniqueness and artfully brings the story to life. Great for family time listening.