The Final Step (Lock and Key #3)

The Final Step (Lock and Key #3)
Age Range
Release Date
October 30, 2018
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The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the thrilling conclusion to the Lock and Key trilogy.

Before James Moriarty and his sister Moria enrolled in Baskerville Academy, they were inseparable—as close to best friends as a brother and sister could be. But since setting foot on the boarding school’s campus, James has been different.

At Baskerville, he’s become cunning, deceptive, ruthless, sometimes reckless. And now that his roommate Sherlock Holmes has been expelled, there’s no one left to help Moira figure out what’s going on with her brother or to uncover the connection between a recent string of deaths.

To Moria, it seems obvious that someone has it out for the Moriarty family. First their father and then their family driver and now their legal guardian—clearly something is afoot. But to get the answers they need, they’ll first have to deal with an incriminating photograph, secret safe houses, and powerful enemies.

It’s a highly original and satisfying take on the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision. As Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, says, “This tale will change the way you see Sherlock Holmes and leave you dying to know more.”

Editor review

1 review
Riveting Conclusion to Moriarty Saga
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Moira and James, still reeling from the death of their father and of Ralph in The Downward Spiral, are back at school, working on school survival competition in the woods. During the game, they happen upon the injured Mr. Lowery, the family lawyer. This is decidedly odd, but also very alarming-- the man is badly injured, and croaks out "Elves and the Shoemaker" before he dies. Even more alarming is the fact that the body disappears, and the news later reports that his body was found back in Boston, which schoolmate (and former girlfriend of James) Lexie discovers. The kids decide that the school probably did not want the publicity, but when Espiranzo contacts James, things start to look suspicious. How is the Directory and the Scowerers involved? And how is this related to the disappearce of the Moriarty's mother, the death of their father and Ralph, and the death of Lexie's father? There are secret locations, encrypted flash drives, and lots of false clues, which are all further complicated by the fact that not everyone is whom they appear to be. Can Moira really trust James, or is he becoming more and more evil? Luckily, Sherlock arrives to help out his friend, and decades old mysteries are resolved in this final installment of the series.
Good Points
Told in alternating view points, we hear Moira's first hand account of the events and her concerns about James, and are able to see an omniscient point of view when James' chapters are recounted. This gives readers an interesting view of the events; it's good to know everything, but also interesting to have an insight into the sibling relationship.

There are any number of middle grade books involving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's immortal character of Sherlock Holmes, including Andy Lane's fantastic Young Sherlock Holmes, Hearn's Baker Street Academy, Cavallaro's Charlotte Holmes novels, Misri's Jewel of the Thames and Springer's Enola Holmes series, and the Lock and Key series is a nice twist, since the main characters are the Moriarty family. Moira is leery of her family's past, but James seems more willing to embrace it, and the exchanges they have as they work through their family legacy is interesting.

There are few murder mysteries for young readers, and they are much in demand. The killing of the lawyer was an appropriate choice-- close enough for the children to be concerned and affected, but not a family friend to add to their already considerable grief. Tying in the most recent murder to the long history of family tragedies wrapped up many of the plot lines nicely as well.
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