A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Published by Berkley on October 18, 2016
Series: Lady Sherlock, #1
Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery
Format & Length: e-book, 336
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USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…
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.
A Study in Scarlet Women is a genderbent historical fiction retelling of Sherlock Holmes that keeps true to the original character while also standing on its own.
“The extraordinary will always be treated differently—they’re extraordinary, after all. What I wonder is whether a not-so-extraordinary woman will ever be treated the same as a not-so-extraordinary man.”
This centers around inquisitive and observant Charlotte Holmes, who has never felt comfortable with the roles cast for women in her society. She strikes out on her own in London just as three unexpected deaths occur and suspicion falls on her sister and father. Using an assumed name of Sherlock Holmes, Charlotte attempts to find and reveal the true culprits.
The beginning of A Study in Scarlet Women was a bit confusing and difficult to follow. After a few chapters, though, it settled into a good flow. From that point on, the pacing was even throughout and the separate plot lines wove together nicely, with an ending that wrapped the story up but left an opening for future books in the series. The characters were interesting and complex, with motivations that make sense. Aside from Charlotte, my favorite character was Inspector Treadles, and I sincerely hope he makes appearances in later installments.
In the end, I enjoyed reading A Study in Scarlet Women. It wasn’t until after I put it down that I realized the more I think about it, the more it grows on me. There are several layers to be unpacked here, from how the title ties into the story in so many ways, to the understanding of the culture in which it takes place. Readers looking for a unique twist on the eccentric Sherlock Holmes may want to check this out.