Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Whole New Sherlock Holmes - A Study in Scarlet Women (review)

TITLE: A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1)
AUTHOR: Sherry Thomas
PUBLISHING DATE: October 18, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: 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.

This book was an extremely enjoyable read and a lot of fun. Charlotte Holmes is an independent, intelligent and resourceful individual who unfortunately is living in a time period where women really aren't supposed to be any of that. She comes from a family of four girls, and since she has no desire to marry and become a prim and proper lady of society, her sisters and parents constantly worry about what will become of her. At the age of 18, Charlotte makes a deal with her father that if she hasn't met a respectable man and fallen in love by the age of 25, he will pay for her to get an education so she can become a head mistress. Her father agrees, yet he doesn't fall through, which doesn't really surprise Charlotte or her sister and best friend, Livia. Charlotte is angered and devises a plan to blackmail him into paying, but the plan doesn't work well and she ends up being the ridicule of the town. So instead of being banished to the cottage in the country where she can no longer embarrass her family, she leaves home to make her own way. Charlotte has always had a knack for being able to "read" people, deduce facts and solve problems, so by using these talents, she slowly morphs into "Sherlock" Holmes and starts the path to supporting herself and becoming a famous figure along the way.

It was such a great idea for Thomas to portray Holmes as a female who because of stereotypes and the time period, has to create an alter-ego in order to do what she does best and make a living for herself on her own. Charlotte is a great character and although I questioned a few of her choices along the way, she has such a pizzazz that I almost immediately liked her. Charlotte really doesn't care what people think of her and all she wants to do is be able to take care of herself and her two younger sisters, once who is mentally ill, and one who has yet to find a proper suitor, without the help of family. Along the way, Charlotte meets Mrs. Watson and as they say "the rest is history."

There are a lot of great characters in the book and at the heart of it is a rather convoluted mystery. The book really kept me guessing to the end and I have to confess, "A Study in Scarlet Women" is chocked full of people who aren't quite what they seem to be. The only real complaint I have with the book is the massive amount of characters that are introduced before the story and mystery begin to form which made it hard for me to quickly catch on. However, I feel some of this can be credited to the novel being the first in the series and the fact that Thomas has to create a lot of backstory and history in order for everything to come together for the reader.

I am finding that I am quickly developing a love for historical mysteries. I've read several great ones this year and "A Study in Scarlet Women" is definitely one of them. I know there will probably be quite a long wait until the next installment is released, but I am already to find out what happens next for "Sherlock" and Mrs. Watson.

I received this novel from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.


BOOKER T's THOUGHTS: Lady Sherlock needs a dog!


  1. So glad you liked this one! I have it to read and can't wait.

    If you are liking historical mysteries you should try The Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson -set in New York and the MC is a midwife. :) Love them! :)

  2. I've seen this one around, but have been unsure of it until your review -- which is the first I've read. SO, I'm quite pleased it's so good!

  3. I love the premise for this one, Barb! It definitely turns Sherlock on its head and I'm a huge fan of women defying convention - especially in historicals. I'll have to check this one out!