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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review - A Conspiracy in Belgravia

Happy Sir Arthur Conon Doyle's 159th birthday!

I was incredibly excited to read and review the first in this series, A Study in Scarlett (click here), which is a retelling of the famous Sherlock story featuring a woman as the actual detective with her false identity as Sherlock.  The concept was great, but more importantly the execution was superb.  The highly anticipated second book in the series arrived and it took a little longer for me to get to the book.  But I finally have a review.

Author: Sherry Thomas

Copyright: Sept 2017 (Berkley) 336 pgs

Series: 2nd in Lady Sherlock Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre:
Historical Detective Mystery

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

Setting: 1886, Devonshire and London England

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

"The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.

In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London"

Charlotte Holmes is blond, pretty, feminine, too fond of sweets, and far too intelligent for the time period. She is funny without intending to be as she considers her fondness for desserts and how many chins she has at the moment.  She is coldly logical, but when it comes to Lord Ingram she may have unwanted emotions.  Mrs. John Watson, a retired stage actress has become her sidekick. Lord Ingram Ashburton, a long time friend and first love, knows of Charlotte's secret identity and aids her.  In this outing Lord Ingram's unrequited love for Charlotte whitle in an unhappy marriage is displayed. Inspector Robert Treadles featured in the first book shows up again but has his prejudices against consulting Charlotte again that demonstrates the common man's attitude towards such a woman in that day and age.  Moriarity is developed further and is slowly developing into the mastermind and nemesis.  Mrs Watson's niece, Miss Redmayne, is visiting and assists in the investigation at times.

The plot definitely has several twists and has a level of intrigue that sneaks up on the reader.  The pacing, I felt, maintained a steady pace and kept me engaged.  I will give a caveat that it should be read when you can give your full attention, I read it in short bits here and there because of life circumstances, and found with the twists I could easily loose the thread and get lost.

The killer reveal was a final twist in the story I had not seen coming, well done!  The wrap up is nicely satisfying and even a little poignant. 

Not only was this a great mystery, but the characters are further developed and their personal dramas unfold and gain complication.  A shocking move on Charlotte's father's part shows how little voice women of the era had in their own lives.  I find this series so imaginative and refreshing, give it a try if you like historical mysteries.

Rating:   Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

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prince said...

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