In Sherlock Holmes and The Case of The Yuletide Puzzle, the notorious detective was not trying to piece together a murder mystery. No, in this book, he was trying to decipher a cryptogram. Cryptogram puzzles come in different forms, but the result is always the same—decode the encrypted text. This particular puzzle was hand-delivered to Holmes. There was no postage. No fingerprints. No identifying marks of who gave the envelope to Mrs. Hudson, who gave it to Sherlock. This mystery letter baffled Sherlock for days!
Holmes aims to make sense of streaks, lines, dots, curves, and lines. If you can't visualize the puzzle, that's okay; Ed Trotta has added an image of it for you. Even after you see the puzzle, I doubt you'll be able to "read" it. It baffled me as much as it confused Holmes and Watson. Of course, I didn't forego nourishment as Sherlock did.
For several days, Holmes put his health and cleanliness on the back burner while he worked on the puzzle. Little by little, he was unraveling the mystery. Without Holmes's guidance, I would have never solved the cryptogram. Luckily, I didn't have to.
Sherlock's powers of deduction were not on display with the code. He also enlightened us on how he knew where Watson had been and the patient's illness. His observation skills are beyond reproach. His method and behavior while solving a mystery are not perfect, though. He was rather rude and physical with Watson. I'm glad he apologized. Not immediately, but eventually.
Both teenagers and adults can read Sherlock Holmes and The Case of The Yuletide Puzzle by Ed Trotta. Actually, make a challenge with your teen who thinks they can solve the cryptogram first. The loser washes dinner dishes! If no one solves it before Holmes, then call it a tie and buy take-out!
Review submitted on 9/5/22.