This is the seventh book in Douglas’s series featuring Irene Adler, the adventurous diva/detective who once outwitted Sherlock Holmes. While recovering from her pursuit of Jack the Ripper the previous spring, Irene receives a telegram from daring American newspaper reporter Nellie Bly, aka Pink (introduced in the fifth volume, Chapel Noir) with the alarming news that someone is trying to murder Irene’s mother. Having only vague recollections of her childhood and no memories of a mother, Irene goes to New York to investigate. With her is her constant companion, the prim and proper Nell Huxleigh, who narrates the series. Irene finds that someone is murdering performers from New York’s popular theater world, all of whom had knowledge of her childhood. At the same time, Nellie Bly invites Holmes to New York in pursuit of the murderer.
This is a delightful addition to the series, less bloody than the previous two entries, and especially enlightening about Irene’s origins. I enjoyed the descriptions of the New York theater world of the late 19th century. But readers should not begin the series with this book, since it contains references to events from the previous two volumes. There is nothing that gives away the identity of the killer, but readers who are new to the series might feel they have missed something.