In the new cat-and-mouse Charlotte “Sherlock” Holmes novel, a heist becomes more complicated than Victorian England’s greatest sleuth could have predicted.
An unexpected visitor from the British Raj leads to a new assignment for lady detective Charlotte Holmes, one that reveals layers of mystery at each step. Charlotte and her sister, Olivia, plunge into the investigation with Mrs. Watson, Lord Ingram, and a few characters who have appeared fleetingly in the series and another from two of Thomas’ other novels. Picking up a few months after Hollow of Fear (2018), this latest adventure pits Holmes and her intrepid band against an unknown blackmailer’s demands, which lead them to a French chateau. On arriving there for reconnaissance, however, the group starts to piece together a far broader and more dangerous game at work. Grafting a classic house-party mystery onto a plot of international intrigue and criminal gangs, Thomas has Holmes weave together those threads while still mulling over the long-term fate of her smoldering relationship with her almost-divorced friend, Ingram. Romance fans will have to be satisfied with a few touches and some passages of internal longing, a bit of a letdown after the events of the previous novel. But the restraint fits the personalities of both main characters, and the extra time given to Mrs. Watson’s lost Indian love and Olivia’s budding one decentralizes Holmes’ love plot in interesting ways. Thoughtful yet brief remarks critique patriarchy, heteronormativity, and colonialism, fitting organically into an absorbing whodunwhat arc.
An exciting addition to the mystery series; Holmes meets Oceans 11 meets A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.