Novelist Sherry Thomas launches a new mystery series with A Study in Scarlet Women. It’s a clever take on the original Holmes story, especially since it is so well-crafted that it stands on its own merits. The setting is, of course, Victorian England, and the conflicts stem from the roles and expectations for women during this period.
Charlotte Holmes, analytical, observant, and intelligent, rejects the assumption that her only path forward is marriage. She applies her intelligence to the task of forging her own independent identity with unpredictable results, both for us and for her. As murder and scandal unfold, Charlotte is surrounded by other characters, most of them women, who fill in the roles of their counterparts in the traditional Sherlock canon. Holmes and Watson emerge in an entirely new way, which is a positive pleasure to read.
If gender-flipping and Victorian mystery appeal to you, you can’t do better than this series debut. I really couldn’t put it down, and it’s the perfect read for dark autumn days.