I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.
Moriarty’s shadow looms large. First, Charlotte’s half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte’s close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.
With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram—and a number of malevolent forces…
***2019 The Summer of Sherlock***
I realize now that I neglected to review the second volume of this series, but suffice it to say that I was excited to get my hands on volume three and that I refused to go to bed until it was finished.
I’m enjoying Ms. Thomas’ interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes story. The autism spectrum in nothing new, despite the fact that it wasn’t named until the 1930s, and undoubtedly it would have been swept under the rug exactly as Bernadine is in this series. Charlotte is depicted as having some of the same tendencies, but she is very verbal and highly observant. But her dislike of being touched and her use of food to calm herself plus her confessed lack of understanding of “normal” emotion seem to indicate her presence on the Spectrum.
What truly captivates me are the overarching plots that run through all of the books. Are Charlotte and Lord Ingram going to become a couple? What will become of the remaining Holmes sister, Livia? Will Charlotte be able to support Bernadine and Livia so that they can escape from their emotionally abusive parents? And what of Inspector Treadles and his wife Alice--can Treadles escape his societal training enough to appreciate her ambition?
I think the Treadles plot line is the most poignant one for me personally. The Inspector has smugly considered his marriage to be perfectly harmonious until the day that his wife reveals that she is disappointed that her father did not leave the running of his manufacturing company in her hands, but rather in the incapable hands of her brother. Rather than ignoring this revelation, it poisons the Inspector’s soul. He also observes that other women that he interacts with do not respond positively to him and he is further dismayed. It is a difficult moment when he begs Charlotte to tell him where he is going wrong and she tells him that although he looks like an open, nonjudgmental person, he reveals himself through his actions to be prejudiced against the aspirations of women and thoroughly disappoints them. It is to his great credit that he listens to her and makes some effort to change. I am quite anxious to see where Ms. Thomas takes him from here.
It will feel like a long wait until the next book comes out in October.