I read this book last October and at that time, I was not really into the Lady Sherlock series. I just couldn’t get into the first book but then this one came up and I was intrigued and wanted to give it another go.
When I read it, I really enjoyed it much more than the first book. While I hadn’t read the other books in the series, I didn’t feel overly lost and thought it was a fun diverting mystery.
I ultimately decided to go back and re-read the series, but it wasn’t too high up on my reading priority list but then I read the fifth book this year and was compelled to go back and start the series from the beginning. So as we go into the holiday season, that was exactly what I did, read the books from beginning to end.
As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.
But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.
Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia’s admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake (summary from Goodreads)
Take Two Review
In my original reading of this book, I was a lot more focused on the central mystery rather than the complexity of the character relationships. I didn’t necessarily feel lost in the story itself but I did feel lost in the character relationships having not read the other books. At the time I didn’t think that it overshadowed my feelings on the central mystery but now that I have gone back and read the other books, I feel that perhaps it did.
This time around I felt much more connected to the characters and their stories and how that related and played out in the over all mystery. I enjoyed this book so much more this time around. So far I think my favorite book is the third one, but this one was a nice follow up and it was also fun getting out of London and into France. Though I do think that the author could have really played up the setting a little more but in the end it wasn’t necessary to the overall story but in my opinion, it would have been a nice touch.
I also enjoyed seeing how the author’s style has evolved and changed from the first book to this one. Having read these books essentially back to back the shift is noticeable and I have enjoyed watching her writing mature and change. While the fundamental style is still the same, I have enjoyed how Thomas has subtly broken through Holmes’ tough exterior revealing a real and complex character underneath.
My original review of this book was 3.5 stars but I feel confident in bumping up that rating to a solid 4 stars. I am now at an impasse. I have read the fifth book in the series back in the early fall, but now I am wondering if I should go back and re-read that one now that I have read the other books in the series and see how I feel about it now? But then again I just read it so perhaps it’s unnecessary? I am going to think about that and see if I might be able to fit in a re-read in the future.
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 297 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Berkley
ISBN0451492471 (ISBN13: 9780451492470)
Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Original Rating: 3.5 stars
Take Two Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical mystery, detective novel