A Conspiracy in Belgraviaby Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #2
Published on September 5, 2017 by Berkley Books
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
The game is afoot as Charlotte Holmes returns in the atmospheric second novel in New York Times bestseller Sherry Thomas's Victorian-set Lady Sherlock series.
Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.
Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.
In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body that surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London?
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I do this thing where, even if I wasn’t a fan of the first book in a series, my curiosity about the sequel gets the better of me so I read it, hoping that it’s better than the first. Rarely is that actually the case. This was not one of those times.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia starts the reader off by throwing you in the thick of things without even a “good luck” to send you off. This is also not a sequel you can read out of order and you’ll be even more lost if you try. Add a mystery that just didn’t work and I found a book that was terribly disappointing.
As I mentioned in my review of A Study in Scarlet Women, these aren’t the first books I’ve read by Thomas and I adored her young adult fantasy books. Her mysteries (these specifically)? I can’t say the same. For starters, this book suffered much like the first from a mystery that made no sense. As a reader, I would hope that the author would lead me in SOME direction to make conclusions or guesses at the very least but I couldn’t made head or tail of this plot.
This became increasingly problematic as the character development present in the first book took a step back as they were established and now going through the motions of the story. I do love Charlotte and her view of the world. She’s an intriguing young woman who reminds me a bit of Irene from The Invisible Library. And while she is the Holmes of this pair, her Watson is fabulous. Despite my thoughts on the book, Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson are likely one of my favorite pairs of women in fiction.
Despite the confusion of a mystery that was all over the place, the world was just as rich and vibrant as before. You’re put right in Victorian London with everything from the description of a room to how the characters interact to the society in which they function. Thomas excels at bringing her world to life. I can’t speak to the accuracy of this historical world, mind you, but as someone who loves reading novels set in this time period, I can’t say any of it stuck out as odd.
As a sequel, I have mixed feelings because I love the characters and the world but the story just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge mystery reader. So there you go. If you couldn’t care less about the plot and are here for characters with plenty of vibrancy and depth, then you’ll probably love this book. If you want a mystery to pick apart and piece back together, I’d say keep moving. An average read for me with some amazing (and not-so-amazing) elements.