Review: The Art of Theft

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Art of TheftThe Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock, #4) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #4
Published by Berkley on October 15, 2019
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: This book leans towards adventure more than cerebral mystery, but it works very well. I especially enjoyed those surrounding Sherlock Holmes joining together as a group to investigate. Grounded nicely in character and emotion, I enjoyed the progression of the various characters stories.

THE STORY: Following the intensely personal events of THE HOLLOW OF FEAR, this book turns to the supporting characters in the series who have bigger roles here and their history and relationships are explored more. It is Mrs. Watson who desperately needs the help of Sherlock Holmes and the cast of characters to help an old friend. The group end up traveling to France to steal a piece of art.

OPINION: After the intensity of the prior book being focused on Charlotte and Lord Ingram, this book primarily focuses on others in Sherlock’s orbit. There is much progression here character wise. (We do also get some of the emotional aftermath between Charlotte and Ash).

This book goes in a new direction with more of a heist book than a thoughtful mystery. I enjoyed both the mystery and the character moments in this book. As with all the books in this series, this feels original and interesting. Charlotte is a singular character — my favorite adaption of the Sherlock Holmes character.

Every moment feels fresh and interesting. I love the characters and I want to know how they are going to solve the mystery that comes before Charlotte. This book is very much a collaborate effort between the various characters and while Charlotte is definitely the lead, this one feels more like a group effort. There are more characters who rise to importance and their stories are intriguing as more secrets are revealed.

With plenty of exciting adventures, this one kept me turning pages until the end. (And what an ending…now I have to wait a year for the next in the series, oh no!)

WORTH MENTIONING: As with other books in this series, the main story here is completed, but the book ends on a cliffhanger for the next in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE ART OF THEFT is the fourth book in the Lady Sherlock series. While the mystery here is self-contained, the characters and the overarching stories make this deeply connected with the other books in the series. I believe a reader should start at the beginning, otherwise, there is much to the mystery that will be unanswerable.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: The Hollow of Fear

Review: The Hollow of FearThe Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock, #3) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #3
Published by Berkley on October 2, 2018
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 326
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Cementing this series as one of the most original and intriguing historical mystery series around, Thomas allows readers to delve into the relationship between Charlotte Holmes and Lord Ingram in ways that are unexpected and clever.

THE STORY: Charlotte Holmes, who uses her intelligence and reasoning to solve crimes, is confronted with the most serious case of her career. Lady Ingram, the wife of her friend, Lord Ingram is found dead and Lord Ingram is the prime suspect. Beginning on the heals of the event of A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA, Lord Ingram’s estranged wife has been running from Moriarty and Charlotte has to go undercover to save Lord Ingram.

OPINION: I loved this book. I enjoy a story that surprises me and this one had me twisted around until the very end. Unfortunately the nature of the book precludes much discussion of the plot beyond the blurb, but I very much enjoyed the mystery in this book. It was complex and intriguing and by the end I was surprised but also satisfied by the resolution.

Charlotte and Ingram are the focus of this book and readers who may have wondered about the chance of a romance between them will get some interesting time between these two. Yet Charlotte still remains her own person with a strong sense of self and her own agency. I loved how the story progressed and the book feels satisfying while pushing some of the overarching storylines forward for future books.

Original and compelling, the seriousness of the events can be impressed upon readers that Charlotte, loses her appetite — which basically makes this a serious crisis.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book follows directly from the events in A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA and I recommend refreshing the memory of what happened in that book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE HOLLOW OF FEAR is the third book in the Lady Sherlock series. This book especially should be read after the second book in the series. I think it assumes knowledge about the characters and situation that one can only really gleam from having read the prior book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia

Review: A Conspiracy in BelgraviaA Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Published by Penguin Group (USA) LLC on September 5th 2017
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Twisty, complicated, multi-layered with multiple stories and a unique heroine, this story demands a lot from its readers, but delivers a shocking resolution that moves the overarching storylines of this series forward.

THE STORY: Continuing her work and deception as “Sherlock Holmes”, Charlotte Holmes has a new complication. Lady Ingram, the wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor wants Sherlock to locate her first love who failed to show up for their annual meeting. It turns out that man that Mrs. Ingram is seeking is none other than Charlotte’s illegitimate half brother. Charlotte is also struggling with an unexpected proposal from Lord Ingram’s brother. Mysteries, deceptions, divided loyalties, and false identities abound in this story.

OPINION: Continuing this complex gender flip on the Sherlock Holmes series, this book moves the series past the “origin” phase and shows Charlotte in her complete agency. The book begins right after the ending of the first book and assumes knowledge of those events (so readers with fading memories might want a refresher). Having discovered that she did not actually escape her desperate circumstances under her own power, but rather because of her longtime friend Lord Ingram, Charlotte contemplates what that means.

Right into this conflict walks Lady Ingram. Charlotte now has another dilemma to sort out — what are her obligations to Lord Ingram now that she knows that his wife has a tender for another man. Charlotte, of course, considers this from her intellectual factual perspective, but the other characters around her help illuminate the emotional aspects as well. The plot of this story is complex with several different investigations involving different parties (and even different investigators). There are also numerous characters with their own issues and motives (I especially like the Scotland Yard Inspector who is having difficulties dealing with independent and intelligent women — even his own wife). I was completely satisfied by these various stories but a reader who is looking for a straightforward mystery might be frustrated because nothing is straight here. Some things are significant even when they don’t appear so and vice versa. Some things are connected. Some things completely random. And some things are probably merely planting seeds for the future.

I believe that Charlotte’s character’s complexity takes a big leap in this book. Readers already introduced to her, know that she is poor at the emotional resonance of actions and really, really good at the intellectual calculations involved in decisions (think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory).  We get to see that she has her own method of understanding the world and relationships that are not at all cold. She does, after all, care very much for her two younger sisters. As she contemplates the marriage proposal of Ingram’s brother, we get to see her thought processes which gives tremendous insights into her feelings not only for Ingram’s brother, but for Ingram himself. As a character, Charlotte is not an easy one to understand — or perhaps for everyone to like — but I enjoy the way her mind works and her essential decency. Even when that means that she must impart hard information.

I look forward to the next book in the series, but there is much still left to discover.

WORTH MENTIONING: Moriarty.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA is the second book in the Lady Sherlock series. I think this book needs to be read as part of the series and not on its own.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

Review: A Study in Scarlet WomenA Study In Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
on October 18th 2016
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-stars

“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.

four-stars