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A Ruse Of Shadows

Sherry Thomas writes a layered and smart historical mystery!

I have wanted to read the Lady Sherlock series for a while now, and here I am, jumping in at book 8. I LOVED this book!

Enough background is woven in organically, and I wasn't lost, but I fell hard and fast for these characters and the premise of this book, a gender-swapped Holmes and Watson with feminist themes. I plan to read the earlier books to know how it all began.

Thomas's writing is excellent. The setting is immersive, and the characters, particularly the brilliant Charlotte, aka Sherlock Holmes and Mrs. Watson, are faceted and vibrantly depicted. Charlotte is such an intriguing character, and the Holmes pseudonym allows her to investigate by covertly navigating around the limitations of women in the Victorian era. She also dons various disguises, as does her lover, Lord Ingram, which I found to be a delightful surprise each time they met incognito. Their chemistry is fantastic, too.

This mystery has a clever, intricate, meaty plot with many moving pieces. Charlotte's deductions are brilliant, much like those of Conan Doyle's original Sherlock, and her entire team works together in perfect sync. I have loved the original Sherlock books since I was a kid, and I can be pretty critical of retellings of the source material, but this was one of the best Sherlock reimaginings I have read. It's wholly unique but captures some of the spirit of the original.

Kate Reading narrates the audiobook, and she does a masterful job. There are many characters, each with different accents, voices, and speech patterns, including Charlotte and Lord Ingram's various personas, and she perfectly captures each one. I alternated between the book and the audiobook, but her performance helped me keep the characters straight. She also added to the suspense and made this a very entertaining listen!

A Ruse of Shadows by Sherry Thomas

Genre: Historical Mystery

Pub Day: June 25, 2024

My steep was Lady Londonderry from the English Tea Store


Charlotte Holmes is accustomed to solving crimes, not being accused of them, but she finds herself in a dreadfully precarious position as the bestselling Lady Sherlock series continues.

 Charlotte’s success on the RMS Provence has afforded her a certain measure of time and assurance. Taking advantage of that, she has been busy, plotting to prise the man her sister loves from Moriarty’s iron grip.

 Disruption, however, comes from an unexpected quarter. Lord Bancroft Ashburton, disgraced and imprisoned as a result of Charlotte’s prior investigations, nevertheless manages to press Charlotte into service: Underwood, his most loyal henchman, is missing and Lord Bancroft wants Charlotte to find Underwood, dead or alive.

 But then Lord Bancroft himself turns up dead and  Charlotte, more than anyone else, meets the trifecta criteria of motive, means, and opportunity. Never mind rescuing anyone else, with the law breathing down her neck, can Charlotte save herself from prosecution for murder?

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