A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the first in Thomas’ Lady Sherlock Series. If books revolving around or based on the Sherlock Holmes character make you cringe due to the liberties taken that may not be the case in this instant. It certainly wasn’t my reaction.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. (Synopsis from Amazon)
A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the promising start to a clever twist on the Sherlock Holmes character.
As a staunch Holmes fan, there are places I simply can’t go with Holmes inspired books, movies, and TV shows. The new PBS Sherlock works for me because it’s been updated, placing Holmes in modern settings and doesn’t attempt to compete with what I consider the quintessential Holmes portrayal by Jeremy Brett. The books work when they don’t, per say, focus on Holmes or make him something he wasn’t meant to be. Michael Kurland’s “Moriarty” series and Quinn Fawcett’s “Mycroft Holmes” series springs to mind. Two excellent Holmes inspired series.
Ms. Thomas’ take on Holmes keeps the essential elements that make Sherlock such an enduring and compelling character, while adding her own thoughtful and well played gender twist on both Holmes and Watson.
Charlotte Holmes’ looks belie the brain behind them. The effort she has to make to be socially acceptable with her family and society at large add depth and authenticity to her character. While her brain is superlative, some of her actions and conclusions reveal her naivete. This is where the Mrs. Watson’s character comes into play. As a member of the demimonde she possesses the worldly knowledge Charlotte lacks as well as moving on the fringes of the same social circles without being as stifled by the societal strictures of the time.
Granted, there were a few issues typical to first books in a series, but they were minor and not enough to putt me off. The biggest question I have is, “how long will they be able to pull off the charade?”
A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN struck me as inventive and fresh feeling; truly enjoyable, entertaining, and fun. I’m sincerely looking forward to the follow-up.