Even better than the first book because all the characters have hit their strides in this sequel. The author does a really, really great job of handling this little merry group of people many on the autism spectrum.
The two sisters, Olivia (the writer) and Charlotte (the brains) both have the same ability to notice the minute details and make deductions, but in this book it becomes clear that the way the two sisters interpret the world are based on Olivia’s overwhelming social consciousness and Charlotte’s lack. There’s a passage in the book where a character ruminates how Charlotte often appears to regard social situations like a non-native language– she understands the grammar and rules but not the meaning sometimes. There’s also more from love interest Lord Ingram’s brother, Lord Bancroft here. Not only is he proposing again to Charlotte, but we find out that he, too, has a cold-blooded aspect that while suitable for shady gov’t dealings, might also be a sign he interprets the world with the same social cluelessness as Charlotte.
And there’s, of course, quite a convoluted plot with more dastardly hints of Moriarity. Seemingly unrelated things come together quite nicely at the end, but not without emotional cost for Charlotte’s investigatory actions as related to her love interest Lord Ingram.
And there’s cyphers 🙂 and Explanation of cyphers, which was interesting, but sometimes I have to admit I skimmed a bit (all the mathematical implications of the Vignere cyphers).
Highly entertaining both as a mystery and as a romance. I wish with all my heart there were more published already!