Series: Lady Sherlock #1
on October 18th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery
“Holmes’s mind has always been a thing of beauty.”
“Holmes wants only an occupied mind. Everything else is secondary.”
FINAL DECISION: An intriguing book which is uneven in parts and not as mystery intense as I expected but which turns the Sherlock Holmes mythology on its head in a fascinating way. This book clearly is setting up future stories which I have much potential. I can’t wait to see how this series develops.
THE STORY: Charlotte Holmes is a woman with a unique brain who doesn’t fit in a society that only values a woman’s looks, marital prospects and breeding potential. Charlotte plans her own ruination to gain her freedom and independence.
OPINION: What would happen if Sherlock Holmes was a young woman in Victorian England? That is the question this book begin with. This is Sherlock’s origin story and as such is much more focused on the characters and the setup of the series rather than being devoted to the mystery. There is enough mystery here for interest but the focus is on how Charlotte truly becomes Sherlock Holmes
Charlotte is an incredibly intelligent woman who is out of step with the roles allowed women in Victorian England. She miscalculates in trying to determine her own fate which leaves her vulnerable in ways she didn’t expect. While her unorthodox behavior and way of looking at the world initially makes her difficult to know, it is clear that she does have feelings even though she wishes to think them away. Her relationships are what bring out her humanity.
Livia is Charlotte’s older sister cares deeply for Charlotte and her devotion is returned. Livia has taken care of her sister and when Charlotte is on her own, her sister fears for her. Charlotte realizes that her situation has damaged her sister and works to repair the situation. The ending leaves interesting possibilities for Livia’s future.
Lord Ingram is Charlotte’s romantic interest although the two have a long history together and he is now married. There is clearly something between these two that compels them together even though they do not have a future. Ingram operates as an intermediary for Charlotte in her investigations.
Inspector Treadles and his wife Alice are a genuinely happy couple. Treadles is the police investigator who seeks assistance from Holmes and is also given information by Holmes. He is married above his station and works with Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to better his professional prospects. Treades and his wife operate as a truly happy couple amongst all the disfunction.
I enjoyed this book because the series has a great deal of promise. There are some slow points in the book and I don’t think the mystery is as well integrated or as interesting in its solution as I would have hoped. I think that now that the parameters of the series have been outlined, however, there is much to look forward to.
WORTH MENTIONING: This series is intended to be an ongoing one. The mystery is resolved but there are numerous overarching character stories which remain unresolved.
CONNECTED BOOKS: A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the first book in the Lady Sherlock series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.