Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: The Lady Sherlock Series (Book 1)
Publication: Berkley (October 18, 2016)
Description: 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.
My Thoughts: A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is a vastly re-imagined version of Sherlock Holmes. In this case, Sherlock is actually Charlotte Holmes, the youngest daughter of a gentleman and is wife. She is something of a favorite of her father in that he is amused by her eccentricities but not enough of a favorite that he feels obligated to keep his word to her. Having expressed her desire to never marry, he agreed to send her to school and finance her quest to become a school mistress when she turned 25. However, when that date came, he reneged and left Charlotte to do something outrageous to take herself off the marriage market. She is caught in flagrante delicto with a married man which ruins her reputation and would have caused her parents to send her away to their country home if she hadn't decided to run away first.
Previously, to relieve some of her boredom and to exercise her talents and high intelligence, Charlotte had worked through a friend to offer the police insights on certain crimes. Her friend is Lord Ingram Ashburton who happens to be the only man she has ever kissed. Unfortunately, he has entered into a society marriage and is the father of two young children. Even though he and his wife are living a sham of a marriage, his morals don't allow for him to take Charlotte as his mistress which she would like. They have developed a strong friendship though. When she runs away to London, he keeps an eye on her and engineers a meeting with a former member of the demimonde, actress and widow Mrs. John Watson. Mrs. Watson takes Charlotte in as a companion and encourages her to set herself up as a consulting detective.
There are three interconnected crimes that she is working on. The first is the suspicious death of a man who lived a reclusive life but who was connected to society, the second is of another young woman who was also a member of society, and the third was the death of the mother of the young married man who compromised Charlotte. The cases are nicely tricky and provide quite a challenge for Charlotte.
There are many parallels to the original Sherlock Holmes stories with Charlotte as Sherlock, Mrs. Watson playing Dr. Watson as a companion and sounding board. There is even a Mycroft Holmes equivalent in Lord Ingram's older brother Lord Bancroft. The police contact is Inspector Robert Treadles of the Metropolitan Police. What I found particularly interesting was the way the author managed to infuse each of the characters with beliefs of the day and make them each - with the exception of the shadowy Lord Bancroft - well-rounded and fully developed people. This story is firmly set in Victorian England and the characters really act as Victorians.
This was a page turner of a mystery for me. I wanted to know who committed the crimes and why. I also wanted to know that Charlotte would finally find a place for herself that let her use her talents to the fullest. I hope that Charlotte has many further adventures.
It was after a fair bit of practice and no shortage of awkwardness that she at last grasped the point of all that persiflage, which was merely to avoid the silence of people having nothing to say to one another.I got this one in exchange for an honest review from Penguin's First to Read program. You can buy your copy here.
The uncomfortable silence, in other words. But since there was no such thing as an uncomfortable silence for Charlotte, it was as difficult for her to understand as it was for a man with vertigo to master the Viennese polka.