Release Date: Oct 15, 2019
Series: Lady Sherlock
Heat Level: Warm
Publisher: Penguin Group
Let me start by saying that Sherry Thomas is a magician with novels – especially with historical fiction, and this latest installment in the Lady Sherlock series does not disappoint. The Art of the Theft is the 4th book in the series and can maybe be read as a standalone (if you MUST) but I highly, highly recommend that you start from the beginning of the series. There is a lot of background to all of the characters that you would not understand by reading this as a one-off as well as inferences to past cases and characters from the other novels.
Charlotte Holmes has put her methodological mind and deductive skills as London’s consulting detective to those who have money for a private investigator and for those who cannot find help from Scotland Yard. Of course it being Victorian England, there is no way that Charlotte herself can be seen to be doing this type of work, and so she operates under the alias of Sherlock Holmes and pretends to be the doting sister to her reclusive and ailing brother. With the help of Mrs. Watson and a few good friends and her sister, she manages to pull off the charade. While still on a sabbatical of sorts after the whirlwind of events in the 3rd installment, Charlotte is visited by a friend of Mrs. Watson’s who is desperate for help in recovering some letters from a piece of famous art work currently housed in an exclusive French mansion. Charlotte and her close friends all agree to take on the task as it is important to Mrs. Watson to help out her old friend. As the team get deeper and deeper into the task they realize it is not as simple as they had once imagined but they now must see it through.
It is difficult to write a review without giving away the mystery and also without giving away spoilers to the other 3 installments in the series. But rest assured that you will not be disappointed with this book and with this series in general. It is a great take on the story of Sherlock Holmes and it is accurate to the time period it is based in. Women for the most part were meant to be seen and not heard, especially those of the upper class whose value was determined by who they married. I really liked how Sherry Thomas recognizes all of the restrictions on women in that time period, and still created a story that worked within those restraints in a unique way.
While there is an undercurrent of romance in all of the books, it is not the main topic but it is always present. There has been a slow build to the romance over the last 4 books and I am very excited to see how this will play out in the books to come.
I highly recommend this series.