A Study In Scarlet Women (The Lady Sherlock Series)
Historical Cozy Mystery
Setting – London, England
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (October 18, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01ASO6JIY
USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.
I am in a quandary about this book. As a Sherlock Holmes fan I thought I would love this story. As a fan of Anna Lee Huber I love historical mysteries where the usual man’s part is played by a women so I should have loved this story. But this book started at a super slow pace to help us get to know Charlotte Holmes and something about her just felt off. After some thought I pinned it down to her behavior. She is very clever and has that Holmes insight but she doesn’t think her actions through which put her in places she didn’t need to be. She has a gift but was very unsure of herself at times, thankfully she found her Watson to help her out and guide her.
The mystery itself seemed complex, but introduced almost too many characters to keep straight and it is told from multiple points of view. This is not a quick read, you need to slow down to be sure you catch each detail and realize which character is telling the story at the time. It jumps around a lot without much rhyme or reason. At times I felt we were reading the story of Inspector Treadles, instead of the story of Charlotte Holmes. Sad to say he didn’t really grab a hold of my either. It doesn’t help that Charlotte was investigating 3 separate deaths and trying to determine and convince Treadles how they were connected.
Charlotte’s sister was the character that did grab me but she wasn’t present in the book as much as I would have liked. She came across as very genuine to me.
The ending was a bit of a surprise but I wanted more, the case was wrapped up for me in a way that made no sense, especially after the time put into the investigation.
As I reflect back I think the problem is something many first books in a series have, the endeavor of introducing the characters and giving readers a mystery we can sink our teeth into. I think the author just tried to cram too much into this first installment. I needed their to be less characters and more about those that remain and maybe just one death to get more acclimated to our new Holmes.
That being said I may want to read book #2, but if it was available today I wouldn’t be rushing out to purchase it. Now that I know the characters a bit and after some time has passed I may be ready for another escapade with Miss Holmes, her family and her friends. This seems to be this accomplished author’s first stab into the mystery genre, I do have confidence she will find her way.
You can find out more about Sherry Thomas and her books on her webpage here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”