MysteryPeople Review: A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA by Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her latest on Tuesday, September 5th at 7 PM – the day of the release! You can find copies of A Conspiracy in Belgravia on our shelves starting Tuesday morning, or pre-order now

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

9780425281413I’ve seen some fine contributions to the Sherlockian oevre over the past few years of working at the bookstore. In the fiction realm, Joe Ide introduced his modern-day Sherlock, Isaiah Quintabe, in last year’s South-Central-set IQsoon to be followed by this October’s RighteousG.S. Denning showed up on the scene with his Warlock Holmes series, a truly bizarre Cthulu-Sherlock mashup; Laurie R. King followed up on her always excellent Mary Russell series by editing the anthologies In the Company of Sherlock Holmes and Echoes of Sherlock Holmes; Kareem Abdul-Jabar took us on a Caribbean adventure with his novel Mycroft Holmesfollowing Sherlock’s older brother on his first international escapades; Otto Penzler edited The Big Book of Sherlock Holmesa mammoth undertaking from Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; and so on.

We’ve also seen plenty of additions to the field of Sherlock studies. DK Publishing released The Sherlock Holmes Book, a visual and infographic guide to the world of Baker Street and beyond; Mattias Bostrom expanded his already-excellent work of literary criticism From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon for its US publication this summer; and Stefan Bechtel and Lawrence Roy Stains released their new biography Through a Glass Darkly: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Quest to Solve the Greatest Mystery of Alla heartbreaking tale of Doyle’s attempts to get in touch with his son, a casualty of WWI, via seance, this past June. And that’s without mentioning coloring books, children’s books, guides to Sherlockian TV shows, new classic editions of Doyle’s works, or any releases from prior to three years ago.

“In sheer authenticity and charm, however, nothing matches Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series.”

In sheer authenticity and charm, however, nothing matches Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series. With last year’s A Study in Scarlet Women, she introduced us to a series that straddles the line between gentle parody and respectful tribute to late-19th-century writing and social mores, as the observant and rebellious Charlotte Holmes leaves her stifling upper-class family, moves in with the merry widow Mrs. Watson, and starts her own investigation practice.

Charlotte sidesteps social stigmas by pretending to help her ailing brother, Sherlock, with the physical investigation necessary to solve cases, while attributing her success to his bedridden calculations. Charlotte gathers an able coterie to assist her – Livia Holmes, her dreamy sister, chronicles her cases, while she finds assistance in everyday investigation from Mrs. Watson’s mischievous niece, Penelope Redmayne. Meanwhile, the three women tackle the pressures of the London social scene, either turning down proposals, or pining away with the other wallflowers.

Thomas’ second in the series, A Conspiracy in Belgraviais a comedy of manners worthy of Jane Austen and an elegant puzzler that would please Agatha Christie. Sherry Thomas came to fame for her skill in crafting historical romances – a talent that shines bright in the witty repartee and playful skirting of propriety that grace the pages of her second mystery.

Charlotte begins the novel with a visit from Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of her benefactor, friend and sometimes-love-interest Lord Ingram. Lady Ingram seeks information regarding her long-lost lover from before her marriage, who has failed to notify her of his continuing health and happiness, as he has done previously each year of her increasingly unhappy marriage. Charlotte is torn between her duties to her friend and her client, exacerbated by the discovery that Lady Ingram’s former lover is Charlotte’s illegitimate half-brother (and that’s just the first gasp-worthy moment!).

Charlotte faces further complications when she receives yet another proposal from an old suitor, despite her rejection by Society – one who promises to pass along the most puzzling cases he comes across in the Queen’s employ, as long as Charlotte gives up her practice as Sherlock Holmes. Will Charlotte find her half brother? Will Lady Ingram and Lord Ingram reconcile? Will Livia Holmes ever be happy? And what number of chins, exactly, constitutes the Maximum Tolerable Chins so often discussed in the novel over oh-so-British confections?

While readers may get a more complete vision of Charlotte’s world by reading the series in order, I assure that A Conspiracy in Belgravia is delightful with or without background knowledge. Sherry Thomas will be here at the store to speak and sign her latest this upcoming Tuesday, at 7 PM, so there’s plenty of time time to enjoy a long afternoon tea before coming to the signing. We recommend something with currants.

Sherry Thomas comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her latest on Tuesday, September 5th at 7 PM – the day of the release! You can find copies of A Conspiracy in Belgravia on our shelves starting Tuesday morning, or pre-order now

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One thought on “MysteryPeople Review: A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA by Sherry Thomas

  1. Thank you, a brilliant and in-depth review. You’ve made the novel and the other works cited additions to my reading stack. Your reviewing voice is excellent.

    Greg Jolley
    The Danser novels

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