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review 2018-09-10 03:39
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (audiobook)
A Conspiracy in Belgravia - Sherry Thomas

Series: Lady Sherlock #2


After enjoying the first one so much, I felt like Halloween Bingo gave me a good excuse to dive right into the second one. This one ended up being all spies and agents and codes, but there was a murder thrown in there so that's the square I'm going to be using this for.


I have to say that I really enjoy reading about Charlotte. There's just something that I like about her. I could have done without being treated to the details of Livia's literary pursuits, however. It comes across as trying too hard to wrap everything into the Sherlock Holmes mythos, and I find it unnecessary. 


It looks like the third book will be out early October, but since I've been enjoying the audio so much, I'm not sure if my library will have the audio soon enough for me to use it for Halloween Bingo. I must be running out of possible squares for these books anyway, shouldn't I?


I'm counting this for the "Murder Most Foul" square.



Previous updates:

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text 2018-09-05 21:30
Reading progress update: I've listened 636 out of 636 minutes.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia - Sherry Thomas



Now I just need to decide whether to count it for the "Terrifying Women" square or the "Darkest London" square. I did have something else initially pegged for Darkest London, but this would work for it too... Or it would also work for "Murder Most Foul". I don't think I had explicitly chosen a book for that, just a few possibilities...


Decisions, decisions.

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review 2018-08-28 03:13
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (audiobook)
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Kate Reading,Sherry Thomas

Series: Lady Sherlock #1


This was a pleasant surprise. I honestly wasn't sure I would like it because I was coming into it pretty cold and I'm always a bit leery of late 19th century historical fiction. Too many authors just try to be clever when it comes to approaches to technology and feminist movements (and it doesn't quite work). I didn't feel like Thomas was trying to shoehorn modern women into 19th century characters. Sure, many of the women felt frustrated with their options in the book, but they weren't jumping ahead, so to speak.


I liked how Watson played out and how Baker Street came about. I honestly thought that Charlotte had something else up her sleeve at the start because she was being kind of stupid. I guess it just goes to show she's not infallible or inhuman. I was a little disappointed at how Moriarty played into things at the end but oh well. I might be tempted to say that it was the best gender-swapped Sherlock Homes that I've read but I've also read The Tea Master and the Detective, which is a gender-swapped Sherlock Homes with Watson as a spaceship in a Vietnamese-inspired futuristic empire...so I'm not sure that'd be true. Anyway, it was a really good read overall.


Now I just need to decide whether to listen to the next book in the series right away or wait till September 1st so I can have it count towards Halloween Bingo. Kate Reading, the narrator, is excellent, by the way. I'm counting this as my pre-read for Halloween Bingo 2018 for the "Diverse voices" square.


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text 2018-08-26 20:59
Halloween Pre-Read
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Kate Reading,Sherry Thomas

This is my opportunity to start on a library hold that came earlier than I expected. This way starting early should also not interfere with finishing up my other books this week (since it's an audiobook). I'm probably going to use this for "Diverse Voices".



So far it's going quite well!

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review 2018-08-26 15:04
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) (Audiobook)
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock Series, Book 1) - Sherry Thomas

After the train wreck that BBC's Sherlock has become, and since RDJ's too busy being Tony Stark to return to the role, there hasn't been much in the way of good Sherlock adaptations lately. Elementary is actually a lot better than I thought it'd be, but it's still only something I watch when there's nothing else to watch.


I was hoping that this reimagining of the Holmes-verse would fill the void. Unfortunately, when you get a gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes - here named Charolette Holmes - you get a protag who is into froo-froo fashion, closely monitors the size of her double chin, and has a love interest despite having no interest in love or marriage. But she doesn't mind the idea of being some guy's mistress some day, as long as it's the right guy. Because girls need love interests, dontcha know! *sigh*


We also get a big long familial drama llama to give Charolette an origin story which gets her out the trappings of marriage

by becoming a big ho. *gasp* Or the Victorian England version of a big ho. Which means she gets one married guy to boink her once. She figures that way, she can blackmail her dad into living up to his promise to see her educated or she'll tell everyone about said boinking. Unfortunately, that cat got out of the bag before she could put her nefarious scheme to good use. And now she's sloppy seconds with loose morals that no one respectable will be seen dead with. ... Unless they are dead and she's solving their murder.

(spoiler show)

She couldn't just have one of those cool, forward-thinking dads who realizes his daughter's not suited for marriage. Nope, no education for his inquisitive genius. That'd be too simple.


So it's not until a good half of the book passes before we even get to the new Watson (who's pretty cool but not a doctor, or even a midwife or a healer) and the duo start to get down to the business of solving small little mysteries.


Meantime, Inspector Treadles is corresponding with who he thinks is Sherlock via his friend Lord Ingraham to get help solving a case. "I sure wish A.C. Doyle had written a story from the POV of Lestrade," said nobody ever, but we get that here anyway. Treadles is a nice bloke and all, and very sharp, doing much of the legwork himself and getting the job done just fine with just a couple of letters from Sherlock. He doesn't even meet Charolette face to face until the second half of the book.

And then Charolette has to go through this whole ruse of pretending Sherlock is sick in the room next door and hearing everything they say, because she's smart enough to know no man will listen to her on her own. Of course, there's only so long this ruse can last before it's discovered, so I'm glad the story ends with Treadles in the know.

(spoiler show)


Livia, Charlotte's sister, is sweet enough but not too prominent a character in this first book.

She will fill the role of chronicler, though, and she'll rewrite the real mysteries into fictionalized versions of them, so that this becomes the original A Study in Scarlet.

(spoiler show)

All the interconnections of the various lords and ladies and high society is pretty bland. And the killer

gets away scot free. Which really is fine with me, considering the killer did society a huge, huge favor, but still! There was no confrontation with the killer. Charlotte gets a note from the killer that explains everything. The end!

(spoiler show)


This story read more like bad Jane Austen fanfic than like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and that expectation clash meant it took me awhile to get on board with what the story was doing and with the large cast of regular characters and the POV switches. I'm hoping that now that the ridiculous origin story is out of the way, the next book might see some improvement and a better focus on the mystery aspect. I'm not necessarily in a rush to get to the next one though.


Kate Reading did a good job with her performance. She's clear and concise, does a reasonable job varying the voices enough for all the characters and gives the story a sense of life. No complaints there.

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