The second of “The Lady Sherlock Series” did not disappoint. (I reviewed the first in the series here). I come to these books with zero knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock. I am only familiar with the ex Mr. Madonna’s Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch. Perhaps I should read “A Study in Scarlet” for the “This Old Thing” BINGO square? Personal edification!
On the heels of solving her first murder case, Charlotte Holmes (aka Sherlock) is presented with two puzzles to solve that are even closer to home than her first case. Lady Ingram hires “Sherlock” for a personally sensitive case that could compromise Charlotte’s friendship with Lord Ingram. Lord Ingram’s brother renews his former marriage proposal with the added enticement of a dossier to decode. What’s a lady detective to do?
The gender politics of this historical period regarding marrying off the young ladies to suitable gentlemen of means is taken to task even more heavily in this book. Charlotte’s sister Lidia is paraded around London for the season. The unhappy but fiscally & socially advantageous marriage of the Ingrams is explored further. When Inspector Treadles’ wife stands to inherit her family’s company upon the death of a cousin, Treadles struggles with his insecurities about marrying above his station: “She had what she always wanted and he had never felt smaller or more lonely.” Issues of legitimacy, anti-Semitism, and class-ism round out the themes.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away and spoil it. If you read the first book, chances are that you have read this one already. If you haven’t read the first book in the series…why not? Book 3 comes out in October and it’s already gracing my library hold list.