Castle Rouge is the sixth entry in Douglas’s series featuring Irene Adler, American opera singer turned inquiry agent, who once outwitted Sherlock Holmes. It begins in the summer of 1889, exactly where the previous book, Chapel Noir, left off: Irene’s husband, British barrister Godfrey Norton, had mysteriously disappeared while in Prague on secret business. Irene’s companion, parson’s daughter Nell Huxleigh, had been abducted in Paris, apparently by Jack the Ripper, who had committed a series of murders similar to those which took place in London the year before. In this volume, we find Nell and Godfrey imprisoned in a castle in Transylvania, where they encounter some old enemies. Meanwhile, Irene and her friends, who include daredevil reporter Nellie Bly, search for Nell and Godfrey…and the Ripper, who has struck again in Prague.
I am always glad to see another Irene Adler mystery. Castle Rouge and its predecessor are much darker than the rest of the series, although this is not as bloody as the previous book. Some readers may be confused by the multiple viewpoints. Also, I do not recommend reading Castle Rouge without having read Chapel Noir first. Or, even better, begin the series with the first book, Good Night, Mr. Holmes.