Narrator: Kate Reading
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Published by Blackstone Audio on September 7, 2017
Source: Audible Plus
Genres: Historical Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 29 mins
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Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and 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 dear friend and 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.
In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body that surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?
This is the second Lady Sherlock book, and Miss Charlotte Holmes has set herself up as the supposed sister of an invalid brother, Sherlock, who is brilliant at solving baffling mysteries. Charlotte is still living with Mrs. Watson, who I just adore, and they really have the whole thing set up well. Only a few people know that Sherlock does not exist, including Charlotte’s sister Livia, Inspector Treadles, and Lord Ingram Ashburton, Ash, Charlotte’s closest friend since childhood. This book takes over just after the first, and really, although it could be read as a stand-alone, I would encourage you to read A Study in Scarlet Women first.
Charlotte receives a note requesting an appointment from a Mrs. Finch, but Charlotte immediately recognizes the notepaper and realizes that the letter comes from Lady Ingram Ashburton. The situation is rather tricky, as Ash and his wife are not a happy couple. Moreover, Ash and Charlotte are secretly in love with one another, although they would never admit it or act upon it. There is a palpable undercurrent of attraction though.
Charlotte accepts Lady Ingram’s request. It turns out that Lady Ingram is looking for help in locating a young man, Myron Finch, with whom she fell in love before marrying. For financial and social reasons, they could not marry but they agreed to meet once a year at the Albert Memorial. This year, however, Mr. Finch did not appear, and Lady Ingram wants Holmes to locate him and discover the reason. Interestingly enough, Myron Finch is Charlotte’s illegitimate half-brother, a son her father had supported but kept a secret.
In the midst of working on the case, Lord Bancroft Ashburton, pays Charlotte a call and proposes marriage. (Bancroft is a Mycroft sort of character who holds a position in the government and can pull strings when needed.) Bancroft is the opposite of his brother – cerebral, decidedly uncharismatic, and obsessively curious about everything and everyone. Charlotte does consider it; there would be many advantages, although she would have to quit being Sherlock. Bancroft offers her a consolation to this downfall and gives her a dossier of six envelopes containing the details of mysteries that have come across his desk. One of them involves breaking a virtually impossible cipher, but Charlotte of course solves it, leading her and Ash to a London house where Inspector Treadles is investigating a murder. Just a note, ciphers are not rather annoying to listen to on audio.
It’s a bit complicated, but of course the murder ties into the search for Myron Finch. It’s a twisty, turny plot but everything falls into place at the end.
The characters are wonderfully drawn. Charlotte is logical and not quite unromantic. Ash is an honorable man trapped in a miserable marriage to a deceitful woman who only married him for his money. Little sister Livia meets a mysterious young man who seems to like her despite her oddities and quirks. Treadles is my least favorite, but he’s supposed to be. He’s more traditional than any of the others.
I loved the ending, for a couple of reasons that I won’t tell you.