The Abduction of Pretty Penny (A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery 5)

Written by Leonard Goldberg
Review by Vicki Kondelik

This is the fifth book in Leonard Goldberg’s mystery series featuring Joanna Blalock Watson, the daughter of Sherlock Holmes; her husband, Dr. John Watson, Jr.; and his father, the original Dr. Watson. In 1917, Joanna and the two Watsons investigate the disappearance of Pretty Penny, a young actress at the Whitechapel Playhouse. At first it seems that Penny may have eloped with her secret lover, but when several prostitutes are murdered in the same way as the victims of Jack the Ripper, Joanna realizes that the killer has taken Pretty Penny and means to make her the next victim.

Has the original Jack the Ripper returned, or is this a copycat killer? The three prime suspects, two pathologists and a surgeon, all work at the same hospital as Watson, Jr., and are amateur actors at the Whitechapel Playhouse. Which of them is an extremely clever killer? When the murderer sends Joanna a letter threatening her son, Johnny, she knows she must act quickly or Pretty Penny and her son will both be brutally murdered.

The Abduction of Pretty Penny is darker in tone than the other books in the series and contains gruesome descriptions of mutilated corpses, which are definitely not for the squeamish. But like the others in the series, this one is very well written, with clever dialogue between Joanna, her husband, and her father-in-law. Joanna has Holmes’s brilliant, logical mind and deductive genius, but she is more emotional, especially when her son is threatened. Her son does not make as lengthy an appearance as he has in other books, but he plays a pivotal role and shows signs of following in the great detective’s footsteps. I highly recommend this latest in an excellent series, but I suggest reading the others first.