Friday, March 29, 2019

The Detective, the Woman, and the Silent Hive

This is the third book in Amy Thomas's brilliant series. I first came across Book One (The Detective and the Woman)in 2015, and was charmed by it. I’ve always been intrigued by Irene Adler, the woman who outwitted Sherlock Holmes in Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia, and whom (according to Dr. Watson) Holmes refers to ever after as “the woman”. Thomas has turned them into a dynamic duo of sleuths following Book One, when Holmes was given the assignment by Mycroft to prevent what looked like an assassination plot against Adler. Having worked as a team, these former enemies developed a friendship, and in the next three books have been solving mysteries together. 

By Book Three, Irene is living in a peaceful village in Sussex, pursuing singing engagements, but finding peace and relaxation in cultivating beehives. Her peace is shattered when, unaccountably, hive by hive, the bees contract the bacterial disease, “foulbrood”. Since there are no other cases around, it seems to have been purposely introduced by infected bees. Irene goes to London to seek the advice of her friend and sleuth-mate, Sherlock Holmes. 

As it turns out, a nefarious plot is actually aimed at Sherlock Holmes and can be traced back to an earlier case he thought was solved. More than that, I won’t say, because the pleasure is in finding out the who, what, when, where and why. But the author tells the story with a deft hand.

Like the earlier books, the story unfolds through alternating viewpoints -- the clinical Holmes' in third person distant, and the expressive singer's in first person close. It’s a device that works very well, allowing, among other things, the two main characters to reflect and comment on each other and to develop them believably. Other characters are also nicely developed, from Billy, the porter, Wiggins, the leader of the “irregulars”, loyal Mrs. Hudson, grumpy Lestrade, and the ever-gallant Dr. Watson (who also has eyes for Irene’s housekeeper in Sussex).

The author captures beautifully details of Victorian London, from elegant homes to shabby neighborhoods, the wealthy and the poor. Scenes and interiors (including a night in jail) were vivid.

This is a well-paced novel with satisfying twists and turns that kept me engrossed to the end. There is also a Book Four, out: The Detective, the Woman, and the Pirate's Bounty. Can't wait! 

                                     You can learn more about Amy Thomas by 
                                      clicking on these links:
                 Her blog: 
                 Girl Meets Sherlock
                                      She also podcasts with 
The Baker Street Babes           


Anvilcloud said...

I may put this on my April list, having had little success in March. Can't find the first book on, however. I do see the second, I think.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, AC, thanks for stopping by. If you can't find Book 1 on Amazon, you can find it at MX Publishing, and also, on Amy's blog, she lists places her books are for sale. If you enjoy the era and the Canon, I think you will enjoy her books.

Vicki Lane said...

I'm fond of most Sherlockian stories -- especially those of Laurie R. King. These sound intriguing as I've always like Irene Adler.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Vicki, another author who has a fun series involving Irene Adler with cameo appearances by Sherlock, is Carol Nelson Douglas. I think the first in the series is Goodnight Mr. Holmes.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I remember your reviews of other Holmes and Adler stories by this author. It sounds intriguing, and you make an excellent reviewer, leaving me definitely wanting more. Sorry I'm late visiting. Real life got in the way of computer time, I fear.

Rosi said...

You keep finding more and more Sherlock based books. I'm astonished how many there are. Thanks for telling me about this one.

R's Rue said...

Thank you.

Nas said...

This looks an interesting read.

Julia Thorley said...

Sounds like a great book.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Elizabeth (& Bleubeard), I'm glad these reviews make you want more. The books really are such good reads.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Rosi, I agree: It's amazing how many Sherlock Holmes books are out there. I haven't even made a dent in the few I've reviewed. Such a popular literary figure, and so many fans!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

R's Rue, Nas, and Julia, I am late to respond to these, as we were traveling and then for a week we didn't have access to the Internet. Glad you all find the books interesting. Have a great day.