Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
“The extraordinary will always be treated differently -- they’re extraordinary, after all. What I wonder is whether a not-so-extraordinary woman will ever be treated the same as a not-so-extraordinary man.”
I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Sherry Thomas’ A Study in Scarlet Women. So I snagged a copy from the library and promptly fell in love with this book. All I knew going in was that it was a genderswap Sherlock Holmes retelling. There was no need to say anything more; I was already on board with that premise. Charlotte Holmes is the youngest of the four Holmes sisters and the most peculiar. When Charlotte causes a scandal, she decides she can make it on her own. However, when her sister and father are named as potential suspects in several society deaths, Charlotte writes a letter to the newspapers under her pseudonym, Sherlock Holmes, tying three deaths together as possible murders. Now Charlotte must find a way to prove her family’s innocence, as well as navigate life on her own and her alter-ego, Sherlock.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot of this book because I think it’s best to go in a little blind. But there are so many wonderful parts about this retelling. Charlotte befriends a widow, who (surprise!) is Mrs. Watson, so there is still the Holmes-Watson friendship, which is my favorite. Charlotte is friends (or maybe more?) with Lord Ingram Ashburton; Lord Ingram’s friend Inspector Treadles begins to correspond with Charlotte as Sherlock, and thus Charlotte begins consulting for Scotland Yard.
I am here for all versions of Sherlock Holmes stories (hello, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law; cheers to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman), but A Study in Scarlet Women is such a refreshing take on the classic. I am dying to read the rest of the series. In fact, immediately upon finishing this book, I put a hold at the library for A Conspiracy in Belgravia, the second in the Lady Sherlock series. I cannot wait to see the next mystery unfold in the series, and I hope we get more of Charlotte and Ash, as well as more of Livia, Charlotte’s older sister. There were so many little nuggets of information interspersed throughout A Study in Scarlet Women that I cannot wait to see how Thomas ties them all together throughout the series.
I have been in the market for a good cozy British mystery for a while; I really enjoyed A Quiet Life in the Country, but this Lady Sherlock series is going to be my new favorite series. I absolutely loved A Study in Scarlet Women. It has everything I want in a book: a little romance, lovely female friendships, amazing banter, a little mystery, and is set in England. What more could I possibly want? I seriously cannot recommend this book enough. It is one of my favorites of this year. I give it 5 stars!
What classic retellings do you recommend?