Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Study in Scarlet
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
Author: Sherry Thomas
Published: 2016
Genre: Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Length: 323 pages
Source: Purchased
Date Finished: August 31, 2020
Grade: B
Synopsis: 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. (from Goodreads)

Review

This was a 3-star read for much of the book. It was slow-going, and everything had to be set up, what with this being the first book and all. But once the case(s) got going and it really got into the mystery, I was hooked. And that last chapter! I am very fond of Lord Ingram, and I’m sure my fondness will only grow in subsequent books. He has so much respect for Charlotte and is a perfect partner for her, while being both supportive and protective. I was never able to guess what was going on—which was a plus, because who wants to read a mystery that has an obvious ending?  I also love that Charlotte isn’t perfect, which is something I was worried would happen. She makes mistakes, she’s unknowledgeable in some areas, and she started out a little too sure of herself.

I really liked how Thomas took elements of the original Sherlock Holmes story and twisted them into something that is truly her own. This is a deeply feminist rendering, while also being painfully ingrained in the 1880s, which means that there are some problems women faced then that have since changed, as well as some problems that persist to this day. She set up the ending very well, and I’m excited for book 2.


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