My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Publication Date: 9/5/17
# of Pages: 336
This is an outstanding, excellently written, well plotted, well-paced mystery populated with equally outstanding characters. This author has taken Sherlock Holmes and turned him inside out and made him her own. I want to tell you everything – because everything is so good – but I also don’t want to spoil the mystery for you. My advice – skip this review, go out and buy it right now and read it immediately – you won’t be sorry. One thing I will suggest though – read the first book first because it explains exactly who Charlotte Holmes is – her history, her family and her beginnings as Sherlock.
This book begins the day after the first book, A Study In Scarlet Women, ends. In that book, Charlotte, along with Lord Ingram Ashburton and Inspector Treadles solved a triple murder. Inspector Treadles of the Criminal Investigation Division of Scotland yard is having a very, very hard time dealing with the fact that Sherlock Holmes, a male, is actually Charlotte Holmes, a female. Turns out Treadles may not be as accepting as he thought himself to be. He’s also learned that his wife has aspirations in addition to just being his wife. He’s begun to separate himself from his wife and has no desire to consult with Sherlock any longer. He’s also being cool toward his esteemed friend Lord Ingram. I have a feeling that Inspector Treadles has a grand epiphany coming up in a future book.
Mrs. John Watson and Charlotte have devised a way for Charlotte to act as Sherlock Holmes, consult with clients and actually make a living from it. It works out wonderfully well and they are off to a really good start with a profitable business. Mrs. Watson has a unique set of household employees and we meet them in this book. We also meet Mrs. Watson’s niece, Penelope Redmayne, and you will love that young lady. I hope she becomes a regular, recurring character.
Charlotte is astonished when she receives an envelope addressed to Sherlock Holmes – and it has been typed on Lord Ingram’s typewriter. Charlotte knows it can’t be from Lord Ingram because he has no reason to request an appointment – he could just come to see her. So, Charlotte deduces that it has to be from Lady Ingram. Uh-Oh. Should Charlotte refuse to see her? Well, to Charlotte’s logical mind, she thinks she should see her and help if she can.
These stories are all fast-paced, exciting and they have a lot going on – so – settle in, put your seatbelt on and prepare for the ride! We learned in the last book that Lord and Lady Ingram share nothing except the same address. In this book, we learn so very much more – and we learn what a perfidious woman Lady Ingram is.
Lady Ingram has a case for Sherlock and it is a doozie. When she was younger, she was desperately in love with a young man her family deemed unsuitable. She was then forced to marry the wealthy lord who had proposed to her. Her parents knew that he loved her so they couldn’t understand what her problem was. She and her young man made a pact that they would never, ever have contact again after she married, but once a year, at an appointed time, they would each walk past the Albert Memorial, just so they could each assure that the other was well. This year, he didn’t show up and she’s frantic with worry for him. Did he lose interest after all these years? Is he hurt or sick? Has he died? She just has to know. The name of this long ago love? Myron Finch. That is also the name of Charlotte’s illegitimate half-brother. – the plot thickens.
Charlotte and Mrs. Watson set about their investigation of the lost love and at the same time, Charlotte is dealing with the second proposal of marriage from Lord Bancroft. He had proposed before and she’d turned him down. This time though, she’ll give it some thought. She’s afraid that she won’t have enough to do to keep her mind occupied if she marries. Bancroft has a solution for that – he starts giving her some very, very difficult ciphers to solve – and some of those lead to even bigger mysteries – such as an address where a murder has just occurred and she encounters a very aloof Inspector Treadles. Is the victim the missing Myron Finch? Then – who is the Moriarty that even Bancroft seems to be wary of? Is either of them – or both – related to the murder victim? Well – you’ll just have to read the book to see.
The end – the wrap-up – of this very creative and exciting book will not only surprise you – it will shock you. I usually have the whole thing figured out very early on, but I sure didn’t see that one coming. Well done Ms. Thomas!
There is a budding romance for Livia and I’m excited to see where that goes. What happens so far is really sweet. There isn’t any ‘advancement’ of the romance between Lord Ingram and Charlotte because – well – he’s married and Lord Ingram is much too honorable to do anything outside the bounds of his vows. We do learn more about him and the relationship that he and Charlotte have. He even encourages her about Bancroft’s proposal – not happily, but he does encourage her.
I love historical mysteries, but, for me, they have to have a wonderful love story included. So, I’ll be interested to see if this author delivers that. If she does, it will be interesting to see how she has non-sentimental, touch-averse, logical Charlotte handle it. We are well aware that Charlotte loves Lord Ingram and that he loves her – the interesting part will be how Charlotte handles anything that happens. If it doesn’t work out for them, I’ll probably soon lose interest in the series no matter how interesting the mysteries are.
This is a very busy book. I believe that is probably a hallmark of this author and her writing style and I really like that about the books. You definitely won’t get bored and start skimming pages because if you do, you’ll miss something really important.
I very highly recommend this book because it is excellently done. I do, however, recommend reading the first book in the series before you read this one.