The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock)
The Hollow of Fear is the third in Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series and honestly, they just keep getting better and better. In this installment, Charlotte Holmes helps her dear friend, Lord Ingram, when his wife’s body is discovered on the grounds of his country estate, Stern Hollow. Charlotte, this time dressing as Sherlock’s fictional brother Sherrington, provides assistance and moral support to Ingram, who is the prime suspect in Lady Ingram’s murder. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s sister Livia, though concerned about Ingram as well, is also pining for the man she met in the second novel without being obvious about it. Readers will be rooting for her to get some kind of happiness, so long withheld. Throughout the twists and turns, Charlotte has to keep her sisters safe, her identity as Sherlock secret, and Ingram out of the hangman’s noose.
There is so much to unpack in this novel. The plot is wonderfully complex and kept me guessing until the surprising end. But beyond the plot is where the novel’s true strengths lie. Charlotte still desires Ingram but only on her terms and is willing to wait if necessary. Unlike the original Sherlock, Charlotte isn’t asexual, but she refuses to allow society to dictate how she lives her life. Also unlike the original, Charlotte uses food and eating as her addiction rather than cocaine, which is interesting and sparks great discussion about body positivity and body image.
My favorite element of this particular story is that it has lots to say about gender identity. Thomas takes Sherlock and gender-flips him into Lady Sherlock, and then she dresses as a man to help Ingram. I found the interplay of gender identity and gender fluidity to be fascinating.
Oh, and that last line! I cannot wait for the next book! Highly recommended.