A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas ~ Review

A Study in Scarlet Women
Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Berkeley

USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

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.

Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 Stars ~ LOVED

If it has a whiff of Sherlock Holmes, then I am definitely all in.  A gender swap coming of age style story for the great detective was sparkling, riveting, and oh so fabulous.  Thank goodness it’s a series so I can continue with my new author/series adoration for Sherry Thomas and her Lady Sherlock series that all began with A Study in Scarlet Women.

I have always been excited to learn all sorts of fun and assorted details of one of my favorite fictional detectives.  What was Holmes like as a child?  What was his family like?  How did he come into his powers as a consulting detective?  What was it like to be Holmes? 
Yes, yes, I know he wasn't real, but that doesn't stop all the curiosity.

And so that is why this particular take, gender swap and all, was so splendid a treasure to grab up and delve into.  The author began with a few enigmatic scenes that only make sense later and are meant to tease and tantalize.  Then she pulls back and gives the Holmes family history, what led Holmes to take the action she did, and then Holmes long journey through the tough life she now must live and the early time before she gains notoriety as a detective.  Her sister and her family's situation is what pushes her to leap into the center of London's stage and draw attention.

I love that the characters are so rich and drawn so full of life and personality.   Holmes is as eccentric and brilliant as ever, struggles with everyday society, and doggedly goes her own way even if it means to never be normal.  I recognized the flavor of Doyle's characters whether they were swapped to female or took on a new name and persona.  While Holmes is the center of the story, it is not just her story.  She shares this story narrative and stage with her sister, Livie, Lord Ingram, Inspector Treadle, and Mrs. Watson.  All are part of her personal story and part of the case that she must solve or see her family hurt by suspicion and scandal.

The mystery itself was a cunning one and had some good twists and reveals near the end while the majority of it was tracking along gently-paced as a solid historical procedural mystery.  Holmes offered the brilliant insights, but Inspector Treadle was the one to faithfully do solid police work, gather the clues, follow the trails and have some good deductions of his own.  I loved that though Holmes was brilliant, the other characters were no slouches in intelligence.

All in all, this was an absolutely fabulous beginning to a series that I will be waiting with impatience for installment two especially after that tantalizing surprise at the end.  I heartily recommend it not just the Sherlockian fans or only historical mystery lovers, but a wide range of historical fiction and historical romance lovers, too.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Stars
Sophia Rose regularly blogs and reviews at Delighted Reader.

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