A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1)

by Sherry Thomas

Thomas knocks it out of the ballpark again with this start to a new series. (Her forays into different genres are hit or miss with me, this is a hit).

Fans of Anna Lee Huber and Deanna Raybourn, go get this like right now. Thomas has created an alternate completely fascinating Holmes family and injected an angsty, impossible romance into it, as well as cool ciphers and the usual Holmes deductory brilliance, all set within a high society Ton.

The new Holmes family vaguely reminds me of the Bennets, if Pride and Prejudice featured 4 sisters two of whom were most likely on the Autism spectrum and solved crimes.

Livia and Charlotte Holmes’ father is ineffective and regrets his marriage to his dim wife. But Livia and Charlotte, outsiders in society due to their slightly misanthropic view and intelligence (and Charlotte’s almost utter inability to emphasize or understand social consequences) want more than just a marriage to a biddable nice guy like their older sister. They need money to take care of their grown and non-verbal sister, Bernadine. But it’s a man’s world.

I don’t want to go to much into what Charlotte decides to do to take herself out of the marriage mart, nor do I want to go too much into the delightful mysteries and cases that she ends up taking on, nor do I want to spoil how this incarnation of Watson differs from the others. The pleasure in reading an alternate Holmes book, when done well, is both the puzzles and the noting of such differences. Suffice it to say that neither disappoint. This is a clever book on both accounts.

And then there’s an angsty romance. Charlotte cares deeply for someone she can never have, but neither can help but meddle in each other’s lives.

I already bought the full price sequel because I love Charlotte, Ash, and hope to see more agency from Livia now that she’s being drawn into the Sherlock Holmes circle. Bravo.