Saturday, October 3, 2020

Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5)


Murder on Cold Street is the 5th Lady Sherlock mystery by Sherry Thomas. Due out 6th Oct 2020 from Penguin Random House on their Berkley imprint, it's 352 pages and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a well written historical Holmes homage murder mystery with a strong romance subplot. The book is largely character driven and most of the characters are well rendered and interesting. The pacing was somewhat uneven for me though it picked up in the second half of the book. The underlying setup (that the investigative force behind the Holmes name is Charlotte Holmes who's not above some gender prestidigitation to walk unfettered in a man's world)  is well and sensitively written for the most part and the author makes good use of the ensemble cast including Mrs. Hudson and Holmes' sidekick "friend with benefits" Lord Ingram.

The dialogue was pretty well done, there weren't any places I felt yanked out of my suspension of disbelief (which usually happens because of  egregious modernisms), so that was very nice. The language is clean and there's nothing to dismay. There is a fair amount of casual sexism which was annoying, but obviously a fact of everyday life for women of the time period regardless of their social class. 

The book does work well enough as a standalone; new readers won't have trouble keeping the story straight, however, these characters do have a history together. There are several plot elements from previous books which are referred to here which would be fairly big spoilers if not read in order. 

It's an enjoyable escapist read which is well written. For -strict- fans of the Doyle canon, this book won't convince readers that it's a newly discovered authentic story. For people who love the time period, like their murder mysteries with a dose of romance, and don't mind that Holmes is female, this could be a good fit. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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