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A Tradition of Looking Behind the Curtain
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 Post subject: a study in scarlet women
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:48 am
Posts: 4291
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Gets off to a promising start, but eventually founders, overburdened with red herrings. Author Sherry Thomas is primarily a romance novelist; here she takes on a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, with the premise that Sherlock is actually Charlotte, pretending to be a man to allow her independence in the Victorian world. (She doesn’t do this in disguise; instead the idea is Sherlock Holmes is bedridden and cannot consult in person so all contact goes through his “sister”, Charlotte). Charlotte is assisted by her friend and patroness Mrs. John Watson, widow of a soldier killed by a jezail bullet in the Second Afghan War. And their contact at Scotland Yard is Inspector Treadles – an anagram for Lestrade.

At any rate, the characterizations are not bad. But the plot quickly becomes so complicated that it’s impossible to figure out who exactly did what to whom and why. Charlotte must remain almost entirely an “armchair” detective, basing her investigation on observations reported by Inspector Treadles rather than going out and getting dirty as Sherlock would do. There’s no “look and feel” of Victorian London. In the final chapters, all the mysteries are gloriously resolved (leaving some loose ends hanging) and Ms. Thomas remembers she’s a romance novelist so Charlotte gets to have a passionate kiss. Charlotte’s sister, an aspiring author, decides to write up the case by changing the location and events to Utah (which, of course, is where the actual A Study in Scarlet starts). It’s not very convincing. There’s a second novel in the series, which I will probably have to get to assuage OCD, but I’m not optimistic.


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