A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock)
by Sherry Thomas
Cover Artist: Shane Rebenschied / Shannon Associates
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425281413
Date: 05 September 2017 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
A Study In Scarlet Women introduced us to Charlotte Holmes, a woman with a brilliant mind that gathers facts, collates and makes deductions based on that information. Imagine a female Sherlock Holmes and it would be Charlotte. In fact, it is Charlotte. She managed to disgrace herself as far as society is concerned and she's now working with Mrs. John Watson to offer the investigative services of Sherlock Holmes as his assistant using a very clever system to dupe the clients as Sherlock doesn't actually exist.
While the first book set up the characters and their relationships, as well as having a multithreaded and complex mystery to solve, it also dealt with the social expectations both explicit and implicit that makes it difficult for Charlotte and her sisters to live lives that they feel would make them happy, rather than fulfilling their parent's plans.
Charlotte receives a proposal from Lord Ingram's brother, Lord Bancroft that, even though it could exceed Darcy's proposal to Elizabeth Bennet for worst proposal ever, is tempting. It could allow her to help her sisters, but it would require her to give up her work as Sherlock. Bancroft does sweeten the pot by promising to give her puzzles to solve – ones that his department has already dealt with so she can check the answers. He leaves her with an envelope of these puzzles so she can gauge their quality.
Sherlock also has a new client, the wife of Lord Ingram. She wants Sherlock to find her first lover because he missed their annual walk-by in the park. This creates many moral and personal issues for Charlotte as the ex-lover is connected to Charlotte's family. Not to mention that Lord Ingram is a very close friend of Charlotte.
As well as several very surprising connections between cold-case clues and new crimes, the story flashes back to instances in Charlotte's past. She has to make some hard choices. What is she willing to do to maintain her freedom? What is a family? What is owed to a family? What is she willing to do for her sisters? And most important, what is she willing to give up for her sisters?
This series is off to a great start and I'm looking forward to learning more about Charlotte Holmes, Mrs. Watson, and the other characters that have stepped up to be part of Charlotte’s life.