A Study for Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (Amazon)
Source: Library (Audio)
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.
Genre: Mystery - Historical
Why I Picked This Book: I love Sherlock Holmes type stories and the cover on this one is so eye catching I couldn't resist. Plus, I heard an interview with Sherry Thomas and just loved her!
My Impression: This has been on my TBR since it came out but since the 2nd book, Conspiracy in Belgravia, is going to be published next month I decided now is the time to read it - well listen to it in my case.
The beginning was a bit rocky as there is quite a bit to set up. Charlotte takes some time to warm up to and it takes some time to get the whole Sherlock Holmes persona setup. There are also a number of characters to learn and it takes some time to figure out the connection between everyone.
I liked Inspector Treadles and Charlotte's sister, Livia, immediately which helped get through the slower parts and once the mystery really starts going I was fully hooked. I loved the character of Mrs. Watson and am really hoping that we see much more of her in the next book as she adds a bit of humor to Charlotte's more analytical serious personality.
The mystery itself is good though a little on the convoluted side. The primary focus is on the death of Mr. Sackville and while the reasons for this are explained it does feel a little like it comes together all at the last minute though the explanation is satisfying.
This book was hard to rate. I did enjoy the story once I got into it but there were some very definite flaws - most due to this being the first book in the series. However, once everything was setup I loved the premise so much that I cannot wait for future books! I'm looking forward to starting the next book in the next few days!
Audio Note: Kate Reading does a wonderful job with this book. Her voice has a proper-ness that fits perfectly with Charlotte's personality and overall tone of the book. I think I enjoyed this more in audio form than I would have in print.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely! I'm really excited about seeing what Charlotte gets up to next.
Would I Recommend this Book? Yes with reservations. This is a solid story with a fantastic premise but there are some flaws. If you really love Sherlock Holmes-type stories or can get it on audio it's definitely worth a listen.