3.5 Stars for A Study in Scarlet, 4.5 stars for a Conspiracy in Belgravia
Is there anything Sherry Thomas can’t do? After I listened to the audio books A Study in Scarlet and A Conspiracy in Belgravia, I discovered that Sherry Thomas likes to write what she enjoys reading, so she has written romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. I will seek them all out. These mystery novels were delightful. A Study in Scarlet is a great start, but A Conspiracy in Belgravia was so satisfying, I started from the beginning and listened all the way through again. And that ending? Oh so delicious. I can’t wait for the third book in this series.
A Study in Scarlet sets up the premise for these mysteries, Sherlock Holmes is actually Charlotte Holmes, a lady who has a fall from grace after she’s discovered mid-coitus with a married man. She runs away from home, and is taken in by Mrs. Watson, an actress widowed at a young age. Three murders in society occur, and Sherlock Holmes has written Inspector Roger Treadles to let him know she thinks the murders are connected.
This book introduces the cast of characters, Charlotte is cherubic and blond, but with a keen wit. She observes people in the same way Sherlock Holmes did traditionally and makes them nervous with her observations. She a lot of depth though. She’s got a spinster sister, Livia, who she adores and a good friend in Lord Ingram. They are pretty madly in love with each other, but he’s married to someone else.
The solution to this mystery requires knowledge of the victim’s characters which you are not given until the end of the book. I enjoyed the end, and felt it was building to something even greater.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia is one of the best things I read this year. Moriarty, who is name dropped in A Study in Scarlet and enters the story in a minor case that Charlotte is investigating, lurks in the background of this entire book. I hope we get to meet him (or her!) in the next novel. The conspiracy at the heart of the story has several heart stopping twists and turns, characters from the first novel enter in unexpected ways, and the very end has a twist that I did not see coming at all.
That Charlotte would agree to investigate a case on behalf of Lady Ingram brought interesting insight to her character. I enjoyed how Mrs. Watson had a larger part to play in Holmes’s investigations as well. When Lord Ingram’s older brother is added into the mix of characters as well, we get to involve the British government in all of the conspiracies. I really love the character of Charlotte Holmes, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!