A Conspiracy in Belgravia
This second installment in the enjoyable Lady Sherlock Series has the intrepid Charlotte Holmes meeting new cases with a fresh confidence after her successes in the Sackville case. After a newspaper article invites even the most domestic of concerns to Baker Street, Holmes is awash in petty little cases. To keep boredom at bay, she plays with ciphers, maintains her Maximum Tolerable Chins, and contemplates an unexpected marriage proposal. Her interest is piqued by a missing persons case, one unexpectedly connected to other minor cases, which brings to light family and friends’ secrets and revelations.
Although the central mysteries allow this second book to stand on its own, there are a few continuing storylines from the first. Still Thomas does a good job of orienting the new reader in her already-established world. The mystery is smart, the plot is the right amount of complex, and the characters are fascinating. There are, indeed, a great many of the aforementioned fascinating characters, at times feeling like too many for the reader to follow, but they are well-drawn, and Thomas keeps a hold of her story.
Despite the series title, these are not strictly gender-flipped versions of Conan Doyle’s stories, but reimaginings. Thomas’ “Sherlock Holmes” is not a character stalking the pages, as he is in either the original stories or modern pastiche, but a literary creation inspired by Thomas’ clever and self-assured Charlotte Holmes. Though we don’t yet know how it will ultimately play out, Charlotte’s older sister Livia has begun writing dramatically fictionalized stories of her sister’s detective work. The conceit is that it is she, not Thomas, who flips the genders in her fiction.
I look forward to Charlotte Holmes and her next adventure.