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Friday, January 22, 2021

Review - Murder on Cold Street

 I have been a fan of this new series that re-imagines the Sherlock mythos since the debut, A Study in Scarlet Women (click here),  the second book, A Conspiracy in Belgravia (click here),  the third, The Hollow of Fear (click here), and the fourth, The Art of Theft (click here) .  

This is the fifth outing in the series and a high bar has been set with the previous.  Let's see how this one holds up.

Author: Sherry Thomas

Copyright: October 2020 (Berkley) 352 pgs

Series: 5th in Lady Sherlock Mysteries

Sensuality: period refers to affairs

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical mystery

Main Characters: Charlotte Holmes, Charlotte Holmes, disgraced upper class woman who creates the Sherlock Holmes identity

Setting: 1886, London, England

Obtained Through: Publisher (NetGalley) for honest review

Book Blurb: "Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited. 

 Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?"

Charlotte Holmes is blond, pretty, very feminine and frilly, too fond of sweets, and far too intelligent for the time period. Essentially the opposite of what the traditional image is of Sherlock.  Lord Ingram Ashburton is a long time friend with an estranged wife and a complicated relationship with Charlotte.  Mrs. John Watson, is a retired stage actress who has become Charlotte's unique and talented sidekick.  Charlotte's adult younger sister, Olivia featured a little but not as much as in prior books.  

As with all the books in this series, the plot seems simple at first but quickly has many levels and nuances. It is a maze that Charlotte is so good at figuring out. The story moves along at a good clip and I was glued to the book well into the early morning hours.

The solving of the case doesn't involve an exciting killer reveal or confrontation, rather a piecing together of the pieces as they race against a clock to save Inspector Treadles from execution. The wrap-up advances the situation between Lord Ingram and Charlotte.

This has many elements that are more the traditional mystery:  figuring out where people were at what time.  But the maze is twisted and Charlotte is the one to put it all together.  It demonstrates the resistance to women in the work place as the situation for Mrs. Treadles is investigated for a motive.  Very well done.  This may not seem as exciting and action packed as prior outings, but it is still a well done mystery and story that kept my attention riveted. 

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

Here is an interview with the author, Sherry Thomas:

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