Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday #Review - A Conspiracy in Belgravia by @sherrythomas ‏ #Historical #Mystery @BerkleyPub

Series: Lady Sherlock # 2
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Mystery & Detective / Historical

The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas’s Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.
Being shunned by society gives Charlotte Holmes the freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.
Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half-brother.
Her investigative prowess will be challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he end up as an unidentified corpse somewhere in the belly of London?
Story Locale: Victorian England
Series Overview: Charlotte Holmes investigates crimes in Victorian-era London with the help of a female benefactor and a handsome gentleman, in this exciting new series from a USA Today bestselling author.

A Conspiracy in Belgravia is the second installment in author Sherry Thomas' Lady Sherlock series. This is a series that features a "ruined" Lady Sherlock. It is a story that appeals to both historical mystery and romance readers. If you have read any of Sherry Thomas's previous novels, you know that she is a highly creative and imaginative writer. Her characters are as creative and imaginative as the writer herself. Thomas is one of the better historical writers of this generation, which means you get a story that weaves plots, characters, and romances into an entertaining story.

A Conspiracy of Belgravia picks up right where A Study in Scarlet Women left off. Charlotte Holmes, along with Lord Ingram and Inspector Treadles of Scotland Yard, solved the Sackville murder case. In doing so, Charlotte now has a reputation as one who is able to get to the bread and butter of the mystery. Doesn't mean that she is a likable character to all the people she's met. Just means that her brain sees things in a different sort of light. So, it is a curious twist of fate that brings Lord Ingram's wife to Sherlock Holmes to solve the case of a missing lover who seems to have disappeared. 

Charlotte's partner in the Sherlock Holmes endeavor is Mrs Watson. Watson is concerned about accepting the lady as a client given Charlotte's close relationship with Lord Ingram. A relationship that could be severely affected by what they discover. Penelope Redmayne joins Charlotte and Watson in this endeavor because Lady Ingram knows who Charlotte is, and if she discovers Charlotte is really Sherlock, the jib would be up. Lady Ingram claims that she fell in love with a man named Myron Finch, who, we learn, just happens to be Charlotte's illegitimate half brother. Charlotte agrees to help.

While Charlotte is working on Lady Ingram's case, she is once again approached by Lord Bancroft Ashburton, Ingram's older brother. Bancroft is determined to give Charlotte so twisted of a case to try to solve, that he gives her little room to say no to his proposal of marriage. If you've read the first installment, you know that Bancroft has had his eye on Charlotte for sometime, but she has never desired the status of a married woman. After her fall from grace, marriage to Bancroft could be exactly what brings her a new lease on life from the snobs of the so called polite English society. 

Aside from the fact that Bancroft refuses to be told no, he does recognize the skill that Charlotte has at hand. He gives her pieces of a strange puzzle to solve which leads Charlotte to using the very real Vigenère cipher. After days of trying, Charlotte and Lord Ingram are lead to an address in North West of London where a body is discovered. Could the murdered man be Lady's Ingram's Mr. Finch? Or, could the man have somehow gotten caught up in Moriarty's machinations and therefore was murdered before he could reveal what he was dong in Hounslow?

Charlotte, who is no longer acceptable to polite society after the events of the first novel, chose to not only become Sherlock Holmes, but to solve the most innocent of cases while trying to keep a low public profile. Her relationship with Mrs. John Watson has grown from the point where Watson was pushed into helping Charlotte after she was dumped out on the streets by her parents after her very public fall from grace. Charlotte is a helluva a character. 

She is a person who knows that she could take care of Olivia and her disabled sister Bernadette if she made a real name for herself, and was able to take care of them monetarily without being threatened by her father to immediately return home. Should mention that Charlotte is a character who loves to eat? She even checks out the number of acceptable chins she is allowed to have before grabbing for another serving. 

After working with Charlotte, one could now call out Inspector Treadles for being more than a little misogynistic when it comes to female detectives, and their place in society. More on him later. What we know from traveling along with Charlotte on her first real adventure, is that there is a criminal mastermind named Moriarty who apparently has his fingers into a whole cross section of English society. Moriarty hasn't been revealed yet, but I am hopeful any sequel will take care of that issue.

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