by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in the atmospheric second novel in New York Times bestseller 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 that 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?
Sophia Rose is back with another wonderful book. This time she is sharing A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA by Sherry Thomas, the second novel in the Lady Sherlock series. This is another series I am curious to try. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy Sophia Rose’s thoughts.
Following the fantastic debut A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN, that felt both refreshingly new and cozily familiar to a long Sherlock Holmes fan, I was on pins and needles to see if the second installment, A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA, would live up to its predecessor, A Study in Scarlet Women, or not.
I am pleased to relieve your minds quickly. It was another solid, engaging story. It lost nothing by not being the stunning surprise of the first book when the eccentric and compelling Charlotte Holmes was introduced. Charlotte’s appeal stayed strong and the sequel delved further into her character and that of others revealing a depth that fascinated and left me curious for what further revelations would come.
I should pause here and say that, for those not in the know, the Lady Sherlock series is a gender bender that cleverly gives us a female pair of Holmes and Watson, but also a whole new cast of regulars around them. This Sherlock, who can and does possess the observation and deduction powers of the original, walks away from family and societal expectation to carve her own path and it is far from easy nor is it accepted save by a few. There is a hint of unrequited love and missed opportunities, but it is very complicated and not getting resolved anytime soon. The focus is on the immediate situations though the reader is always aware of the tangled undercurrents.
This is a continuation and not a good place to begin the Lady Sherlock series. Yes, Charlotte and the others made it through their first big case, but they are not sitting back on their laurels. What laurels? As the author realistically makes clear (loved how she stays true to societal norms of the day and other nifty historical authentic tidbits), not much has changed save Charlotte’s gift has been vindicated and her parents are not up for murder- though maybe Charlotte or her sisters will be the way her thankless parents are annoyingly going about things.
Like the first book, the author does a fabulous job of setting up a series of seeming unrelated problems and cases to tease Charlotte and her friends while not neglecting the internal stories of equally fascinating characters she created. The new challenges are an intriguing case presented to Sherlock Holmes by none other than Lord Ingram’s estranged wife, the unidentified body, Charlotte’s missing brother, her sister Livia’s odd behavior, and Charlotte receiving a marriage proposal that she discovers must be taken seriously. The book balances the mystery activities with the character plotting. I can’t decide which delighted me more. Oh, and Lord Ingram’s brother getting more page time in all his clever eccentricity showing himself Charlotte’s intellectual equal, was a great addition.
I was deeply enthralled with A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA. I groaned aloud when I read the last page and realized that I would have to wait to find out what comes next. For you see, A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA does provide an immediate solution to the mysteries, but there are some tantalizing overarching series threads that are left teasingly open. Dangerous times are ahead for the lady detective and her friends and I for one, need to be there for what is to come.
Incidentally, for fans of the series, if you sign up for the author’s newsletter through Penguin, there is a Lady Sherlock short story gift.
I do not just merely recommend this series. If you are a historical mystery, or particularly a Holmes fan, do yourself a solid and get started while the series is still young.
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