A Conspiracy in Belgravia & The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

A Conspiracy in Belgravia & The Hollow of Fear by Sherry ThomasA Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Published by Berkley on September 5, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Historical
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in the atmospheric second novel in New York Times bestseller Sherry Thomas's Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.

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?

It’s been quite a while since I read the first book in the Lady Sherlock series, and all I really remember were mixed feelings. TBH, I was on the fence about continuing, and I wasn’t actually that excited when I picked this one up. But, hey, this is one of those times where it’s good to be wrong. A Conspiracy in Belgravia was so much more fun than I remember the first book being, though admittedly that could come down to mood or my terrible memory.

With this installment, I felt a connection to the cast that I don’t think I really did before. Charlotte’s delightful, and there aren’t enough heroines like her imo. Sure, she’s not quite as much fun as Veronica Speedwell, but honestly who is except for Miss Fisher? Then again, Charlotte’s a much better detective than Veronica, so maybe it balances out. Still, I love her analytical, logical nature and how, when she has them, she largely finds emotions a puzzling nuisance. I also adore her food philosophy, which is enjoy all the delicious things any time you can, until you have reached maximum tolerable chins. And that she’s clearly acknowledged as a handsome woman when she has more than one chin. Hell yes, genius fat heroine!

Livia’s probably my favorite, though. Can’t imagine why, given that she’s bookish and doesn’t really like people. Nope, no connection there at all. There’s a subplot about her that had me squeeing and then concerned and then just sort of O_O. I really hope there’s a lot more Livia to come, and I’m pretty sure there is.

The plot had me constantly on my toes. I’d think I had things figured out, but then I would either be completely wrong or I’d only have figured out, at best, half of it. That aspect had me flipping the pages eagerly to find out what off-the-wall twist would be next. The plot centers on Lady Ingram, aka the wife of Charlotte’s love interest. I really worried this would be to give them an easy out, but that’s not how things rolled out, and I’m so glad the book went the complicated way.

This volume sold me on this series, and I look forward to continuing on Charlotte Holmes’ adventures.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Conspiracy in Belgravia & The Hollow of Fear by Sherry ThomasThe Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #3
Published by Berkley on October 2, 2018
Genres: Historical, Mystery
Pages: 329
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, returns in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and A Study in Scarlet Women, an NPR Best Book of 2016.

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.

Moriarty’s shadow looms large. First, Charlotte’s half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte’s close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.

With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram—and a number of malevolent forces…

The Hollow of Fear is fun, and it ranks between books one and three on the Christina enjoyment scale. I wanted more from this book for sure, particularly more Livia, but I had a great time reading it.

If you ship Charlotte and Lord Ingram, this book will be such an emotional roller coaster. Unfortunately for me, I don’t care about their romance at all, neither liking nor disliking it, so I missed out on that ride. Still, I have to give Thomas props for making me okay with the fact that Lady Ingram gets conveniently murdered, making Lord Ingram single. While that was the last thing I wanted to have happen in this book (I hadn’t read the description, okay), there’s something kind of oddly ballsy about how Thomas really just went for it. Thankfully it’s done in a way that makes things not very convenient at all.

Probably my favorite part of The Hollow of Fear was the absurdity of Charlotte undercover as Sherrinford Holmes, supposedly related to Sherlock but not Charlotte. Again, I like the ballsiness of leaning directly into how stupid using the same last name for Sherlock was and doubling down on it. Mostly, though, I like this because it’s ripe with comedic potential, and it makes the detective so uncomfortable and confused, which is good fun.

Oh! Speaking of Treadles, I’ve always been kinda bored by his sections of these books, but I was truly touched by his arc in this book. He basically realizes he’s been a sexist dick about his wife’s business ambitions and begins to truly support her. They’re such a sweet old couple, and that made me awwww. I only wish I had feelings about the actual ship.

The plot’s twisty for sure, but Thomas accomplishes that by withholding information conveniently from the reader. You’re reading along happily through a linear novel when all of a sudden there are a couple of chapters set directly between the other chapters you’ve already read. It’s the sort of flashback you might see in a mystery movie, where it quickly replays some little detail that happened earlier that you might have missed before knowing its true significance. Only in this case, they’re NOT little details. They’re whole scenes pulled from the middle of the book and plopped into the end of the book so that the reader won’t be able to put things together. IMO that’s cheating. I’m not sure if I would have guessed what was up if it had been linear, but either way I’m left less impressed.

Next book maybe I’ll get my Livia ship. PLEASE?!?!?!?!?!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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