I gave book #1 (A Study in Scarlet Women) and book #2 (A Conspiracy in Belgravia) and #3 (The Hollow of Fear) all 5 stars. So why only 4 for this installment? (as I write this the kindle ebook is on sale for $1.99)
The mystery, plot, and Holmsian observations were up to par and wonderful. A woman from Mrs. Watson’s past shows up looking for help just as Charlotte Holmes’ sister’s, Olivia, has a suitor show up.
Some of this series’ fun is how the three Sherlock sisters embody different versions and gradations of Autism spectrum, as well as Charlotte’s Holmsian qualities. It was nice to have Olivia coming in to her own in terms of action here (although I was impatient with her continued self-doubts and the need for others to coddle her). There was less Charlotte, as a result, and much, much less Charlotte/Ingram action.
Aye, there’s the rub. Things advanced quite nicely last book, and Thomas dialed things, way way back. Too far back. And waaaaay too many times interrupting them just at a crucial moment or having Charlotte think things that would return us to romantic fun and basically just have her ignore them. Not cool, Thomas, not cool. And way too transparent as plot device.
On the other hand, quite the plot. The more I say, the less fun this book is, so I can’t even tell you who or what the mysterious woman is! Nor can I say anything about a masquerade party that isn’t at all what it seems, nor talk about the weaving in of past characters other than to say Thomas masterfully keeps Moriarty as the main foil.
Then Thomas ends us on a major Moriarty cliffhanger, without giving us any Charlotte/Ingram love. Arrrrghhh!!!! Still, I ended up reading this one within 24 hours, so its still engrossing and fun.