Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Study in Scarlet WomenA Study in Scarlet Women
Sherry Thomas
9780425281406, Berkley (Penguin), paperback, $15

Publisher Description: 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.

WildlyRead Shelf-talker: Charlotte Holmes helps the police solve murders under the name Sherlock Holmes. When she becomes a social outcast due to a deflowering gone wrong, she relies on her wits, and a few chance encounters, to land on her feet, all while trying to clear the names of her father and sister who are somehow both implicated in a trio of seemingly unconnected and unexpected deaths. Sensible and analytical to a fault, yet not unaffected by the pull of heartstrings, Charlotte Holmes is a lively and witty new addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon.

Personal Notes: Confession: despite being a fan of romance novels, I’ve never read Sherry Thomas before. Second confession: I was blown away when I found out English is her second language (to Chinese). That only made me like her and this book more, and I’m excited to go read some more by Ms. Thomas.

In terms of this book, it was getting great reviews, but it wasn’t until I opened the book to the first scene and discovered that it was about Charlotte choosing her own moment and circumstances of her deflowering that I knew I had to read it for myself. I mean, who else in that day and age has the gumption to do that?! It was brilliant.

What I also loved about this mystery is that it not only truly used powers of deduction, but unlike the Sherlocks played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, Charlotte is not anti-social. She does have relationships with people, and I loved the addition of the enigmatic widow who I can’t wait to read more about in book 2. The secondary characters are just as interesting as Charlotte herself, and even though I’m a little wary of the impending drama between Charlotte and her (very married) love interest, I have no doubt that Charlotte and Ms. Thomas will deal with that in an engaging and character-appropriate way. So excited to read more as book 2, A Conspiracy in BelgraviaA Conspiracy in Belgravia, releases September 5, 2017.

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