A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)
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?

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2) Details

TitleA Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherPenguin Group (USA) LLC
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical Mystery

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2) Review

  • Christina ~ Brunette Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Clever, devious and highly engaging sequel to A Study in Scarlet Women and picking the story up right after that one ended.It would be impossible to discuss the plot without giving away too much of both book 1 and book 2, so I will only say that things get ever more tangled, layered and interesting and the unique female Sherlock spin Ms. Thomas offers on the original version staples is ever more convincing. And it is “technically” possible to read A Conspiracy in Belgravia without having read th Clever, devious and highly engaging sequel to A Study in Scarlet Women and picking the story up right after that one ended.It would be impossible to discuss the plot without giving away too much of both book 1 and book 2, so I will only say that things get ever more tangled, layered and interesting and the unique female Sherlock spin Ms. Thomas offers on the original version staples is ever more convincing. And it is “technically” possible to read A Conspiracy in Belgravia without having read the first book, but that would mean losing a substantial part of the main characters’ arcs. Intelligent, deep and nuanced main characters.The romance is relegated to the background here as well, but it crackles off the page whenever present, while the mystery aspect gains ingenuity and guile. The writing is brilliant and polished, as always with this author, with a quicker pace but at the same time evocative of the classic Victorian suspense novel.An amazing series, can’t wait for the next one.
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    I've given this an A at AARReviewing mysteries is always a challenge as anyone who’s tried it will know.  And with one of this calibre, it’s even more difficult, because I want to tell you just how GOOD this book is, but I can’t tell you too much for fear of giving too much away and spoiling your enjoyment.  I could just say a) “Sherry Thomas is a genius – go buy this book!”, or b) “Don’t waste time here - go buy this book!”,   but that isn’t much of a review, so I will attempt – somehow – to do I've given this an A at AARReviewing mysteries is always a challenge as anyone who’s tried it will know.  And with one of this calibre, it’s even more difficult, because I want to tell you just how GOOD this book is, but I can’t tell you too much for fear of giving too much away and spoiling your enjoyment.  I could just say a) “Sherry Thomas is a genius – go buy this book!”, or b) “Don’t waste time here - go buy this book!”,   but that isn’t much of a review, so I will attempt – somehow – to do justice to this terrific story and author… and will no doubt fail miserably, at which juncture you should simply heed the advice given in points a) and b).Note: I think it would be possible to enjoy this as a standalone, but I really would recommend reading A Study in Scarlet Women first. There are spoilers for that book in this review.A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up on the day after the events that concluded the previous book.  Charlotte Holmes, ably assisted by her closest friend, Lord Ingram Ashburton, and Inspector Treadles of Scotland Yard, has solved the Sackville murder case and learned of the existence of an infamous criminal mastermind by the name of Moriarty.  In addition, Charlotte worked out that that Lord Ingram – Ash to his friends – had pulled strings behind the scenes in order to make sure she wasn’t left alone on the streets after she ran from her father’s house, and orchestrated her meeting with the army widow and former actress with whom Charlotte now resides, Mrs. John Watson.  Charlotte doesn’t like being beholden to Ash, especially not as their friendship, while generally strong, has been sometimes strained since his ill-advised marriage six years earlier.Charlotte and Mrs. Watson have formed a working partnership as investigators, using the identity of Sherlock Holmes as a front for their operation.  Holmes suffers from a debilitating illness, so clients meet with his ‘sister’ – Charlotte – while the detective listens to the conversation from the next room.  It’s with some surprise that Charlotte identifies their latest prospective client, Mrs. Finch, as Lady Ingram, Ash’s wife.  Mrs Watson is concerned about accepting the lady as a client given their friendship with her husband, but Charlotte believes her need must be very pressing if it has driven her to seek Holmes’ help, and agrees to the meeting – although as Charlotte cannot afford to be recognised, the part of Sherlock’s sister will be taken by Mrs. Watson’s niece, Penelope Redmayne.  ‘Mrs. Finch’ explains that she is seeking information regarding the man she fell in love with before she married Lord Ingram, a young man deemed unsuitable by her parents, whose financial situation demanded she marry someone wealthy.While she and her erstwhile love agreed not to meet or write to each other once she was married, they planned a yearly assignation – on the Sunday before his birthday, they would both take a walk past the Albert Memorial at 3 pm, so they could each see that the other was alive and well. This year, however, her sweetheart did not keep the appointment, and she wants Sherlock Holmes to find out why. Penelope asks Lady Ingram for as many details as she can provide, but when she identifies the man in question as Myron Finch, Charlotte is stunned. Myron Finch is her illegitimate half-brother.While Charlotte and Mrs. Watson set about looking into the disappearance of Mr. Finch, Charlotte is also mulling over the proposal of marriage she has received – the second one, in fact – from Lord Bancroft Ashburton, Lord Ingram’s older brother. Charlotte is fully cognizant of the benefits marriage to him would bring. It would rehabilitate her – to an extent – in the eyes of society and would soften her father’s stance towards her; she could care for her sister, Bernadette (who has some sort of mental disability) and could openly spend time with her other sister, Livia and generally return to the life to which she had been born. But even though Bancroft recognises and respects Charlotte’s keen intellect, he clearly expects her to discontinue her investigations as Sherlock Holmes, and she’s not sure that’s something she’s willing to give up.As an inducement, Bancroft gifts Charlotte with a set of puzzles, which includes a message encoded using a Vignère cipher, a fiendishly difficult code that takes Charlotte some days to decipher. Once decoded, the message leads her to an address in Hounslow, North West of London, where she and Lord Ingram unexpectedly encounter Inspector Treadles. A man has been murdered – and appears to have named his killer before he died. Could he perhaps be the missing Mr. Finch? Or could he somehow be tied to Finch’s disappearance? Or, worse still, are Finch and the murder victim somehow tied to the mysterious Moriarty, a name which seems to inspire fear in those who know it, and someone of whom even the unflappable Bancroft seems to be wary?Well… I’m not saying. As is clear, though, there’s a lot going on in this book, and I admit that I sometimes had to refer to the numerous highlights I’d made on my Kindle to refresh my memory about something, but for the most part, the story rattles along famously as Sherry Thomas skillfully pulls the disparate mystery threads together and then unravels them, bringing events to a climax I most certainly didn’t see coming. Just as impressive as her plotting is the way in which she continues to explore and develop her characters and the relationships between them, building on what we know of them from the previous book and rounding them out even more. We don’t see as much of Treadles in this story, but it’s clear that he’s been upset by the discovery of the deceit practiced by his good friend Lord Ingram (over Holmes’ true identity) and isn’t sure what to make of Charlotte any longer. There’s a romance in the offing for Livia, who is charmed by a mysterious young man who seems to see and appreciate her for who she is and doesn’t talk down to her or dismiss her interests; and we get to know a little more of the circumstances which led to Ash’s marriage to a society beauty he later learned had married him only for his money.Anyone with any knowledge of this author’s work will already know that her work is highly creative and imaginative; she fashions strong, well-developed and engaging characters, crafts complex interweaving plots, and her historical romances are among the best in the genre. I should, however, warn anyone hoping for romantic developments between Charlotte and Ash that things between them don’t progress a great deal (if at all). The author sheds more light on Ash’s feelings towards Charlotte, showing he knows her better than anyone (and there’s a nice touch at the end where Charlotte both acknowledges this and admits she’s glad it’s Ash who knows her so well) and Charlotte… well, she doesn’t necessarily wish Ash had married her, she would just prefer he hadn’t married at all. She’s someone who relies on observation and logic and doesn’t have room for sentiment; yet in the face of all the logical reasons she should marry Bancroft, a small part of her can’t ignore the fact that she doesn’t find him attractive while his brother… is a different matter entirely.There’s so much more to A Conspiracy in Belgravia than I can possibly say here. The characters, the relationships, the mystery … all are richly detailed and superbly constructed, making this a truly compelling, un-put-downable read. I stand by my original points a) and b). Just go and buy it.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry ThomasBook Two of the Lady Sherlock seriesPublisher: Berkley BooksPublication Date: September 5, 2017Rating: 4 starsSource: eARC from NetGalleySummary (from Goodreads):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 extraordina ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry ThomasBook Two of the Lady Sherlock seriesPublisher: Berkley BooksPublication Date: September 5, 2017Rating: 4 starsSource: eARC from NetGalleySummary (from Goodreads):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?What I Liked:This sequel novel was incredible, quite possibly even better than A Study in Scarlet Women. I don't read nearly enough mystery fiction novels, but I'm glad I started reading this one. Clearly Sherry Thomas can write anything, and I'd enjoy it!In this second book, Charlotte Holmes has a new set of cases that are puzzling and strange. Lady Ingram has sent a request for Sherlock Holmes, to find her childhood love, who did not meet her at their annual rendezvous. There is something peculiar about this request, and Charlotte knows it's not just the case of a missing man - especially when Lady Ingram cites that the man is Myron Finch, Charlotte's half-brother. Throw in a dead man and some business from the previous novel, and it is clear that this is no ordinary situation. Charlotte and Mrs. Watson must find Myron Finch before any unpleasant business catches up to him - or them.There are so many moving parts to this story, which was fantastic! Charlotte takes on several cases, and some of them intersect. The primary one is that of Lady Ingram, but there is also a woman who believes her housekeeper is trying to poison her. There is the matter of the dead man, whom Charlotte happens upon by chance, in some ways. In the end, all of these plots come together, except one. I thought it was so neat, how everything connected. As you're reading the story, you wonder about each individual case. But then as the climax draws near, it becomes obvious that many things are connected.Thomas had me guessing about everything, right up until 98% of the book, when all is revealed. Don't get me wrong, the author drops information here and there, enough to make you think you understand what the mystery is. But the big reveal is nothing like I would have expected. I must applaud Thomas for how she set up the crime and the mystery!Charlotte is so, so clever! I can't imagine writing such a clever character being easy! She is so perceptive and intelligent - nothing gets past her. She is so formidable when using her brain. Thomas did an amazing job of writing Charlotte.The other characters were equally as well-developed and likable. I enjoyed reading scenes from Mrs. Watson's POV - she is a very kind and intelligent woman. Most of the book is written from Charlotte's POV, but all is from third-person, so the author had the freedom to have scenes from different characters' POVs. It was mostly Charlotte and Mrs. Watson. Mrs. Watson is a fantastic sidekick, and I liked seeing her friendship with Charlotte grow and solidify more.Lord Ingram is a big part of this story, though he plays less of a big role as he did in the first book. His presence is always noticed, even though he is barely in the book (in terms of being in the same space as Charlotte). He is as honorable and clever as always, though of course not nearly as clever as Charlotte. He is a good man.We also got to read from Livia's POV, and I liked that. Livia is a sweet girl, and her part of the story was fun to read. Fun, and sometimes a little wistful, but also hopeful. She has begun writing the tales of Sherlock Holmes and I think it's obvious that she loves it. In terms of romance, there is even less of it than there was in book one, at least for Charlotte. She does get a proposal but not from who we as readers would want (that couldn't happen anyway). However, this proposal thing is dealt with by the end of the book. Fret not!I won't say too much more, especially in terms of the mystery. Suffice it to say, Thomas has written a really good mystery that will be difficult for most readers to crack, until the end. What I Did Not Like:I would say the only thing I would complain about is the lack of romance. I understand why, but I want romance between Charlotte and her man! I think it'll be more possible in the next book, but still. The setup of the possible romance is so strange. But I guess it might move in a good direction in book three. Maybe? I don't know!Would I Recommend It:I highly recommend these books to fans of mystery novels. This is a historical fiction novel that is purely mystery-based. And if you hadn't noticed yet, it's a gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes story. It's great for adults or young adults, even though it is published under an adult imprint. I kept guessing at the mystery until the very end, which is the mark of a great mystery novel, to me!Rating:4 stars. I can't wait to see what is in store for Charlotte next! I do hope certain things proceed (you know what I'm talking about), but I also hope certain things are addressed and brought to light, in book three. Basically, I have a lot of expectations for book three!I just added the cover to Goodreads! Isn't it lovely? Expanded cover below!Preorder now!Penguin Random House | Amazon | B&N | Books A Million | The Book Depository
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I totally love this book. Charlotte Holmes is such a fabulous character and I enjoyed the book so much that not even half-way through did I order the first book in the series. I had no problem whatsoever getting into this book. However, I'm deeply curious to learn more about Charlotte's past transgressions that made her being shunned by her family and society. And, most of all I want to know more about her "creating" Sherlock Holmes. And, the case she was involved in the first book.The story sta I totally love this book. Charlotte Holmes is such a fabulous character and I enjoyed the book so much that not even half-way through did I order the first book in the series. I had no problem whatsoever getting into this book. However, I'm deeply curious to learn more about Charlotte's past transgressions that made her being shunned by her family and society. And, most of all I want to know more about her "creating" Sherlock Holmes. And, the case she was involved in the first book.The story starts off interesting with Charlotte being contacted by Lady Ingram to find her first love. This case becomes very "personal" since Lady Ingram, of course, is the wife of Charlotte's dear friend Lord Ingram. A man that she, well, Charlotte may be very analytic, but if there is one man for her, would that be Ash Ingram. So, yes, very personal case. Still, Charlotte being Charlotte doesn't mean that she will let her emotion's rule the case. Not even when it's revealed that it's her own half-brother the Lady is looking for. Then, we have the proposal from Lord Ingram's brother Bancroft (Made me think of Mycroft, of course, lol) that Charlotte ponders over during the book. I found the case interesting, and yes I was surprised by the ending.Now Charlotte, of course, like Sherlock Holmes has a weakness and if he needed the seven-per-cent solution is Charlotte's more the seven cookie solution. Yes, she needs cookies, not cocaine. Love that.This is a book that surprised me. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. I love reading Sherlock Holmes pastiches and this is beside the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King my favorite so far. And, I have only read one book.I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!
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  • Lady Wesley
    January 1, 1970
    I am breathless. Not to mention sleepless, as I had to stay up late to finish this amazing book. Sherry Thomas is simply a genius – twisting classic Sherlockian memes into complicated knots and then gradually untying them so that we’re left with a beautiful seamless ribbon of an adventure tinged with romance. A Conspiracy in Belgravia is most definitely going on my “playing chess not checkers” shelf.This is the second Lady Sherlock book, and as we learned in the first, Miss Charlotte Holmes has I am breathless. Not to mention sleepless, as I had to stay up late to finish this amazing book. Sherry Thomas is simply a genius – twisting classic Sherlockian memes into complicated knots and then gradually untying them so that we’re left with a beautiful seamless ribbon of an adventure tinged with romance. A Conspiracy in Belgravia is most definitely going on my “playing chess not checkers” shelf.This is the second Lady Sherlock book, and as we learned in the first, Miss Charlotte Holmes has set herself up as the supposed sister of an invalid brother, Sherlock, who is brilliant at solving baffling mysteries and who occasionally assists Inspector Treadles of Scotland Yard. Charlotte is estranged from her aristocratic parents and lives with Mrs. John Watson, the colorful widow of an Army officer. Together, they maintain the facade of an ailing Sherlock living at 221B Baker Street. Charlotte interviews the clients while ‘Sherlock’ listens from his bedchamber. Only a few people know that Sherlock does not exist, including Charlotte’s sister Livia, Inspector Treadles, and Lord Ingram Ashburton – Ash – Charlotte’s closest friend since childhood.Shortly before our story begins, Charlotte had helped expose a triple murderer, and here I must offer a suggestion: read A Study In Scarlet Women first. While this book could be read as a standalone, I think that a reader’s understanding and enjoyment would be enhanced by reading them in order.Charlotte receives a note requesting an appointment from a Mrs. Finch, but Charlotte immediately recognizes the notepaper and realizes that the letter comes from Lady Ingram Ashburton. The situation is rather tricky, as Ash and his wife are not a happy couple, living virtually separate lives under the same roof for the sake of propriety and their two young children. Moreover, Ash and Charlotte are secretly in love with one another, although they would never admit it or act upon it. Ash is too honorable, and Charlotte is too unromantic to think of love. There is a palpable undercurrent of attraction though.Charlotte accepts Lady Ingram’s request, but to avoid being recognized by her, Mrs. Watson’s niece Penelope poses as Sherlock’s sister. It turns out that Lady Ingram is looking for help in locating a young man, Myron Finch, with whom she fell in love before marrying Ash. For financial and social reasons, they could not marry but they agreed to meet once a year at the Albert Memorial, not speaking or acknowledging one another but merely passing to see that each was still alive and well. This year, however, Mr. Finch did not appear, and Lady Ingram wants Holmes to locate him and discover the reason. Imagine Charlotte’s surprise when Penelope repeats this story to her, for Myron Finch is Charlotte’s illegitimate half-brother, a son her father had supported but kept a secret from his wife and daughters. (Charlotte knows about him because she and Livia routinely snooped in their father’s office when he was out of town.)Charlotte is in for another surprise that day, when Ash’s older brother, Lord Bancroft Ashburton, pays her a call and proposes marriage. (For you Sherlockians, Bancroft is a Mycroft Holmes sort of character who holds a position in the government and can pull strings when needed.) Bancroft is the opposite of his brother Ash – cerebral, decidedly uncharismatic, and obsessively curious about everything and everyone. Charlotte agrees to consider his proposal, as it does present some advantages for her. Marriage to Bancroft would redeem her reputation in society, which was ruined when she ran away from home after being deliberately caught in flagrante with a married man. It would enable a reconciliation with her family and enable her to offer care for her mentally disabled sister Bernadette and to visit openly with Livia. However, she would be required to give up her Sherlock Holmes persona and distance herself from the socially unsuitable Mrs. Holmes. Bancroft offers her a consolation, though: “given that mental exertion gives you pleasure, I shall be happy to supply the necessary exercises. After all, I come across them on a regular basis.” With that, he gives her a dossier of six envelopes containing the details of unsolved mysteries. One of them involves breaking a virtually impossible cipher, but Charlotte is up to the job, which leads her and Ash to a London house where Inspector Treadles is investigating a murder.Of course, I cannot resist saying that from there, the game is afoot. It is far too complicated to even begin to describe how this murder ties into the search for Myron Finch, but it does. In the incredibly skillful hands of Sherry Thomas though, the intricate plot works and everything falls into place at the end. Not only is the adventure marvelously structured, the characters are fascinating. Charlotte is logical and unromantic, and yet she hesitates to marry Bancroft given that she finds his brother more attractive. We feel great sympathy for Ash, trapped as he is in a miserable marriage to a deceitful woman who only married him for his money. Little sister Livia meets a mysterious young man who seems to like her despite her oddities and quirks. We also learn more about the tribulations of Inspector Treadles, a man happily married to an heiress but living on a detective’s income. He has women problems. His wife admits that she would like to run her father’s business, and the “magnificent boon to his career,” Sherlock Holmes, “turned out to be a woman with loose morals and no remorse.”Once again, Thomas inserts little factoids from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock stories. Livia is finding her inner muse and begins writing her own mystery story about a massacre in Utah related to a religious cult. (Sherlockians will immediately recognize elements of A Study in Scarlet.) And the arch-criminal Moriarty makes his presence known.I read this on my Kindle, making lots of notes and highlights and flipping back to read some passages again. It is not an effortless read, even for someone who loves complex mysteries. But the effort is well worth it. Sherry Thomas is superbly talented, and it shows in every page of this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.One more thing. Just when you think you have it all figured out – there is the last line of the book. Wow! I did not see that coming. Can’t wait for the next one.
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  • Lyuda
    January 1, 1970
    When I started the series, I was apprehensive of how successful my favorite HR writer is going to be navigating the uncharted territories of historical mystery. My fears were put to rest as I loved the first installment and this one even a tad better.The story picks up right after book one ends. And rather than describing the plot which would be difficult to do without spoilers, I want to share what I felt navigating the story. The best analogy I can come up with is viewing a painting by an Impr When I started the series, I was apprehensive of how successful my favorite HR writer is going to be navigating the uncharted territories of historical mystery. My fears were put to rest as I loved the first installment and this one even a tad better.The story picks up right after book one ends. And rather than describing the plot which would be difficult to do without spoilers, I want to share what I felt navigating the story. The best analogy I can come up with is viewing a painting by an Impressionist. At the beginning, if staying too close to the painting, all you see is small "broken" vivid brush strokes of oil paint. They appear to be randomly selected, unorganized, going in different directions, and in no way related to each other. Take a few steps back, and your eyes will have to adjust to its blurriness, you start to see the purpose of these strokes. They start making sense. Take more steps back and you reach the perfect end distance where it all comes together and you can truly appreciate the shimmering effect of these not-so-random strokes, marvel at the whole picture they present and you want to see more. That’s exactly the experiences I had while reading the story. And the best part of the story? Miss Charlotte Homes herself, of course! Oh, if I can hug a fictional character, I would hug her. Although, on the second thought, since she would prefer not to be touched, I would bake a delicious pastry to satisfy her ever-present sweet tooth. The pastry would be light enough so she wouldn’t have to worry about reaching the "maximum number of tolerable chins".Charlotte's superb mental abilities and lack of emotional empathy to other are the most fascinating aspects of her character. It seems there is a proliferation of stories with female detective set in Regency or Victorian times. These women are smart, capable and…too anachronistic of the times. Not Charlotte. In Charlotte’s characterization, Sherry Thomas's talent shines through. Charlotte has a brilliant mind, amazing ability of deduction. She solves almost impossible problems, able to connect what appears to be random things and events and does it better than any man around her but is able to do all of this within the boundaries of Victorian England female and not just any Victorian female but unmarried and socially ruined one...The author didn’t just insert Charlotte into Sherlock’s area of expertise, she made a character completely different from the well-known man. Charlotte has to be creative in her investigation in order to preserve the illusion of Sherlock Holmes to the man on the street and the police.And although the mystery is solved at the end, there is so much of family and relationship dynamic left to explore. Can’t wait for the next installment!
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  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    It was so much fun diving back into the atmospheric and mysterious Victorian London world that Thomas has created in her Lady Sherlock series. Once again Charlotte and her friends were a treat to see and conspire with. As a mystery always rich in detail and curiosity slowly unfolds as Charlotte puts her deductive talents into play and figures it all out before anyone else and before the danger becomes too great to those she knows and loves. And she does it all while trying to keep it a secret as It was so much fun diving back into the atmospheric and mysterious Victorian London world that Thomas has created in her Lady Sherlock series. Once again Charlotte and her friends were a treat to see and conspire with. As a mystery always rich in detail and curiosity slowly unfolds as Charlotte puts her deductive talents into play and figures it all out before anyone else and before the danger becomes too great to those she knows and loves. And she does it all while trying to keep it a secret as much as possible from those who don't know that the famous Sherlock Holmes, is none other than Charlotte herself. Set in a time and place that women were suppose to be almost anything other than clever and ambitious, I love that Charlotte doesn't turn away from the challenge to shock those around her and stand tall and true to who she is with little thought to what society will think about it. This book, this series, has some of the most romantic lines that never were. Lines that are thought but never spoken out loud. Truly swoon worthy and in large part other than the whole this book rocks all by itself already thing, it is one of the main reasons I keep coming back time and again to Ms. Thomas' writing. It is just so well written and so beautiful in both mystery and prose and the tragic love story that might never be. I devoured this in a night and was sad that I didn't take longer with it. I wanted to both savor and eat it up. I sincerely hope the next book will be here before I know it. I just can't get enough of this series, rich with a mystery that keeps me on my toes and characters that are every bit as fun and intriguing as the story line itself. *ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Veronique
    January 1, 1970
    4.5*“To be thought of as the perfect woman for a man isn’t a compliment to a woman, it’s more about how a man sees himself—and what he needs.”It turns out that I’m really enjoying these Lady Sherlock stories! Thomas has created a singular version of the famous detective - not only a woman, but one that keeps surprising me - and this is not just due to her surprising love of food and taste in clothes! Add to this a powerful cast where women shine in a plethora of roles, and you get a novel that I 4.5*“To be thought of as the perfect woman for a man isn’t a compliment to a woman, it’s more about how a man sees himself—and what he needs.”It turns out that I’m really enjoying these Lady Sherlock stories! Thomas has created a singular version of the famous detective - not only a woman, but one that keeps surprising me - and this is not just due to her surprising love of food and taste in clothes! Add to this a powerful cast where women shine in a plethora of roles, and you get a novel that I couldn’t stop reading.Once more we have several narrators, not just Charlotte, but also her sister, Mrs Watson, etc. All add disparate elements that combine into an image of Victorian society, warts and all. The plot seems more straightforward than the first instalment, but don’t be fooled. If you pay attention, you may get an inkling of where you are being led to, although some details are hidden from the reader, or rather not divulged in their entirety. I don’t mind. Ultimately, yes, the mystery is compelling, but the strength of these novels are in the characters, what motivates them, and how they behave.Sherry Thomas has my undivided attention, hook, line and sinker :O)
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  • Laurie Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Even better than the first one!!
  • Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
    January 1, 1970
    I obviously loved the previous book -- I re-read it prior to starting this sequel. But I did not expect to love this second book even more. I mean, the second book is rarely as good as the first, but in this case, it is just. So. Unbelievably. Good! I love all of the relationships in this series -- the intrinsic ones and those with side characters that develop along the way -- and the banter and camaraderie just elevate them for me. Then you've got the mystery that ties them all together, but ev I obviously loved the previous book -- I re-read it prior to starting this sequel. But I did not expect to love this second book even more. I mean, the second book is rarely as good as the first, but in this case, it is just. So. Unbelievably. Good! I love all of the relationships in this series -- the intrinsic ones and those with side characters that develop along the way -- and the banter and camaraderie just elevate them for me. Then you've got the mystery that ties them all together, but even the side gigs that Charlotte takes on are equally as intriguing. But I think the thing that sealed this installment as my favorite of all of Sherry Thomas' novels thus far was that ending. I was utterly speechless...and then I was screeching. And I already want to read it again.
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  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    January 1, 1970
    Solid and enjoyable, better than the first book. For some reason this series, although there's nothing really wrong with it, has left me strangely unmoved. I remember the excitement of waiting for the release of the next Irene Adler by Carole Nelson Douglas or the new Mary Russell by Laurie R. King and this series just doesn't make me feel the same eager anticipation. I think back fondly of Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody and Sharyn McCrumb's Elizabeth MacPherson as though they were old friends Solid and enjoyable, better than the first book. For some reason this series, although there's nothing really wrong with it, has left me strangely unmoved. I remember the excitement of waiting for the release of the next Irene Adler by Carole Nelson Douglas or the new Mary Russell by Laurie R. King and this series just doesn't make me feel the same eager anticipation. I think back fondly of Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody and Sharyn McCrumb's Elizabeth MacPherson as though they were old friends. I don't feel that way about Charlotte Holmes or Mrs Watson. I want to love them but the characterizations just aren't interesting or complex enough. Sherry Thomas is a good writer but the magic is missing.
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    I've given this an A+ for narration and an A for content at AudioGals.This second book in Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series is one of my most awaited releases of this year, and it fulfilled all my expectations. A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up the day after the previous book, A Study in Scarlet Womenconcludes, and while might not be absolutely necessary to have read or listened to that in order to fully appreciate this latest instalment, I’d strongly recommend it, as one of the real delights I've given this an A+ for narration and an A for content at AudioGals.This second book in Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series is one of my most awaited releases of this year, and it fulfilled all my expectations. A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up the day after the previous book, A Study in Scarlet Womenconcludes, and while might not be absolutely necessary to have read or listened to that in order to fully appreciate this latest instalment, I’d strongly recommend it, as one of the real delights of both books is the way the author presents and develops her characters. While we’re given enough information here to work out who is who and how everyone relates to one another, it’s not the same as experiencing it first hand in book one.Please note that as this is an ongoing series, there are spoilers for the previous book in this review.Listeners of A Study in Scarlet Women will know that Charlotte, having thoroughly disgraced herself, ran away from home and is now living with Mrs. John Watson, a former actress and widow of an army officer. She and Charlotte have gone into the private investigation business together; Charlotte presents herself as the sister of Sherlock Holmes, an invalid with an exceptional talent for detection who listens to his clients from his sick bed while his “sister” speaks to them from the sitting room next door. Only a very few people know that Sherlock doesn’t exist, and the aim is to keep it that way.You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsWhile I enjoyed Charlotte Holmes as “Sherlock Holmes”, I did not fully love the mystery at the heart of A Conspiracy in Belgravia. It took me about 50 pages to even fully follow the story line, and I found the mystery and its resolution to be more convoluted than necessary. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson saved the book for me; I enjoyed both characters immensely. Charlotte’s love triangle was intriguing also. Thanks to Penguin First to Read for a copy of the book; all opinions are my 3.5 starsWhile I enjoyed Charlotte Holmes as “Sherlock Holmes”, I did not fully love the mystery at the heart of A Conspiracy in Belgravia. It took me about 50 pages to even fully follow the story line, and I found the mystery and its resolution to be more convoluted than necessary. Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson saved the book for me; I enjoyed both characters immensely. Charlotte’s love triangle was intriguing also. Thanks to Penguin First to Read for a copy of the book; all opinions are my own.
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  • Obsidian
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I really enjoyed the first book and the second one was a disappointment compared to that. I think Thomas tried to bite off more than could be reasonably followed in this book. Maybe some of it could have been pushed to a third book. Having Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson taking on cases, having Charlotte solving ciphers for Lord Bancroft, and the follow-up to Moriarty and the half-brother we heard about in the last book all thrown together didn't make for an engaging read. Don't even get m Wow. I really enjoyed the first book and the second one was a disappointment compared to that. I think Thomas tried to bite off more than could be reasonably followed in this book. Maybe some of it could have been pushed to a third book. Having Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson taking on cases, having Charlotte solving ciphers for Lord Bancroft, and the follow-up to Moriarty and the half-brother we heard about in the last book all thrown together didn't make for an engaging read. Don't even get me started on Inspector Treadles and his nonsense about women. The man goes around ticked that the brilliant Sherlock Holmes is Charlotte Holmes. And then is even more unhappy when his wife admits she wishes she could run her father's business. After the events in book #1, Charlotte and Mrs. Watson are still doing their detective business as Sherlock Holmes. However, things become awkward when Lord Ingram's wife comes asking for help in finding her first love. There's a lot of hand-waving away why Charlotte agrees to work on this case, but ultimately that case leads to a larger mystery that I didn't think was put together very well.Charlotte is still quite good at deducting. But you do read a lot about what she eats, her tea, and how hungry she is at all times. Why Thomas switched Holmes addiction to Charlotte being an over-eater or glutton (I honestly don't know what she is doing with this) is baffling to me. She could have her addicted to something else and or just not at all. Since you already set up that Sherlock Holmes is not real, and that Charlotte's sister Olivia is going to write stories about the man, who cares that you try to mirror every little thing in those stories. I can't really get a handle on the other characters. Mrs. Watson barely felt in this one. We do have her teaching Charlotte about self defense which I liked. Olivia Holmes is in and out of this one. She's not really integral to the plot, but having her get romantic notions about someone that may be in danger made me just sigh. I am guessing based no how this book ends, he will pop up in the third book. Lord Ingram and Charlotte...I don't know. Due to the events in this book one wonders what will happen next. I actually liked the idea of Charlotte getting married to Lord Bancroft (have fun reading about what happens next). At least it would have moved the book to a different place than I think most readers would have expected.The writing didn't grab me like in the first one and the flow was not good. The only parts I found interesting where getting Charlotte's and Mrs. Watson's POV. I would recommend Thomas cut down on the back and forths to Inspector Treadles in the next one. She could have left him out entirely and nothing would have been missed since he ends up just being a minor player in this. I think we only see him since he will have a larger role in book #3. The ending felt vaguely unsatisfactory since you have a lot of revelations that didn't quite make sense to me at all. I even re-read some of the sections again and just gave up. I think books like these have to leave clues that readers can pick up on as well. Otherwise it's not really fun to read. You just have the author throwing out twists.
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  • Giedre
    January 1, 1970
    A Conspiracy in Belgravia, the second book in Sherry Thomas's Lady Sherlock series, picks up almost exactly where the first book left off. And what can I say, Sherry Thomas does a great job at building upon the foundation she laid out in the first book. If you enjoyed A Study in Scarlet Women, then you will definitely enjoy this one too. That said, for those who haven't read the first one, this is not the right book to enter the tale. If you find yourself curious about a different spin on the Sh A Conspiracy in Belgravia, the second book in Sherry Thomas's Lady Sherlock series, picks up almost exactly where the first book left off. And what can I say, Sherry Thomas does a great job at building upon the foundation she laid out in the first book. If you enjoyed A Study in Scarlet Women, then you will definitely enjoy this one too. That said, for those who haven't read the first one, this is not the right book to enter the tale. If you find yourself curious about a different spin on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, start at the beginning and have fun.
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  • Andree
    January 1, 1970
    I will state right off the bat that some of the 2 star rating might have to do with me being in the wrong mood for this when I read it; however, I can't imagine ever giving it higher than three stars, SO.I went into this book with some trepidation, because there were things I didn't like about the first book in the series - how long it took to get going, how it required Holmes to be as stupid as a turnip, unable to predict simple cause and effect - but those were mostly tied up in the setup, and I will state right off the bat that some of the 2 star rating might have to do with me being in the wrong mood for this when I read it; however, I can't imagine ever giving it higher than three stars, SO.I went into this book with some trepidation, because there were things I didn't like about the first book in the series - how long it took to get going, how it required Holmes to be as stupid as a turnip, unable to predict simple cause and effect - but those were mostly tied up in the setup, and theoretically dispensed with for this book. I will say, that this book probably starts better, in the sense that you (and Sherlock) are thrown into the case almost immediately, without getting distracted by a more boring parallel plot around Treadles solving the case on his own, while Sherlock's busy with other things. I was disappointed with what Treadles there was, because he's apparently decided to go all threatened/insecure-male because his wife and Sherlock have proven themselves to be women with brains. A little nuance would have helped there, but it's nonexistent as far as I can see.That said, Sherlock is involved in the case right from the start, but it's hugely complicated (involving codebreaking and espionage and mostly muddy personal feelings), and her major contribution seems to be codebreaking, rather than strictly observation (though I might have missed that). I was not particularly engaged in the case, mostly because the plot of it exacerbates what I identified as a third potential problem for the series, namely: Lord Ingram. And I mean this particularly in his capacity as potential doomed love-interest. As I said in my review of the first book, I could have dealt with it if it had been subtle, if it had been repressed and unspoken. This book chooses instead to focus the case around Lord Ingram's wife, with a heavy dose of his brother (who works in intelligence). (view spoiler)[So obviously the personal drama gets ramped up to about a million. Not only does Lord Ingram's brother propose to Sherlock (and use access to classified data as an incentive to force her to accept, but OF COURSE Lady Ingram is revealed as evil and in league with Moriarity. OF COURSE SHE IS. Of all the irritatingly dramatic ways for this to go... For one thing, it just feels to easy. Especially as Lord Ingram's brother withdraws his proposal once he sees how valuable/clever Charlotte is - she clearly needs to keep working in Intelligence, and obviously his wife could never deign do that. Blergh. (hide spoiler)]The one bright spot is Olivia, who continues to be the far more interesting character to me (possibly because she's not forced to try and be two things at once - the great hyper-rational detective, who is also at the center of one of the most melodramatic character arcs in the world). She starts writing Holmes' adventures, but more interestingly, meets a mysterious stranger, who charmingly talks about books to her (view spoiler)[and of course turns out to be tied to the Moriarity plot in the first book, but happily is secretly working against Moriarity (hide spoiler)]. The thing is, Olivia is the perfect character to play this role. I don't understand why most of the personal drama can't center around her, while Charlotte's personal issues are kept more repressed. It would be much more Holmesian.Add to that, Mrs. Watson is barely in this, and when she is, all she seems to do is be afraid of dictating to Charlotte, instead wanting her to feel like an equal in the partnership. Which Charlotte doesn't seem to suffer from at all. It's a weird Watson/Holmes dynamic, and didn't work for me. It worked better in the first one when you could clearly see what Mrs. Watson brought to the case-solving, as opposed to this one, in which she just seems to be bank-rolling the operation, and feeding/clucking over Charlotte. I just, I think the reason I didn't like this is that I knew it was going to go all drama-lama about five pages in, but not so much due to a particularly complicated case, but due to personal drama around Charlotte. From Treadles, from Lord Ingram, from his brother, from his wife... And you know what? That is not Sherlock Holmes for me. The tone of this book is all wrong. There's no room for clever detachment and crime solving, because of the overabundance of melodrama.Some melodrama is no bad thing, but in a book about a protagonist who's supposed to be highly rational, this was a bit much. Having Charlotte react mostly calmly to it all doesn't make it go away. If the majority of the melodrama could be centered around Olivia in the future, I would much appreciate it. As it stands, I'm far more interested in that plotline anyway.Also, editing to add that the way this is going, and how I perceive Lord Ingram's future/current role, it feels like he's essentially Watson in everything but name (while also being something of a love interest), and Mrs. Watson is being cast as a combination between Mrs. Hudson and the Baker St. Irregulars. In fact, the role of Watson seems to be heavily diluted in this series, in that it's currently being shared between Lord Ingram, Mrs. Watson, and Olivia. Olivia makes sense, in that she's just taking care of Watson's role as scribe of Holmes' adventures, but I'm not wild about how the roles of the other two are being parsed/probably going to be parsed.And I still find it somewhat ironic, that in a series that seems to be so much about all the limitations and stereotypes around women, the first thing that happens when Holmes is feminized is that she gets a super-tragic love interest. Just sayin'.
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  • Joanna Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    This was everything I thought it could be and more. Thoroughly enjoyable!To be perfectly honest, I did not go in expecting to love this book. The first I was lukewarm about. It had a lot of necessary premise setup and backstory and set the stage for a potentially great series, but I felt the promise was better than the story on its own. I walked away somewhat satisfied that I had gotten to read a new ST book, but also wishing she was still writing in my favorite genre, historical romance. But no This was everything I thought it could be and more. Thoroughly enjoyable!To be perfectly honest, I did not go in expecting to love this book. The first I was lukewarm about. It had a lot of necessary premise setup and backstory and set the stage for a potentially great series, but I felt the promise was better than the story on its own. I walked away somewhat satisfied that I had gotten to read a new ST book, but also wishing she was still writing in my favorite genre, historical romance. But now, and I cannot believe I am writing this, I am happy for the switch and grateful that more will get to experience her genius. I wish there were more books like this, with such attention to detail in the character development and time period. This book doesn't really start with a bang, but it builds and takes you on a journey. It raises your anticipation to where you find yourself waking in the middle of the night to finish it before starting your day. Three hours is enough sleep, right? This is a rewarding read, and I am excited for the next installment.
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  • Minh
    January 1, 1970
    I love Sherry Thomas, and I love Sherlock Holmes. What I do not love however, is this series. At first glance the concept of a genderswapped Holmes looks as though it could be fascinating, instead we're bogged down by a sluggish storyline, entirely too many obscure hints about nefarious deeds and characters which are simply too unlikeable to want to relate to. I struggled to get back into the world building and never quite got back into it before the novel ended.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Welp, I don't know how to feel about this one. Starting it before vacay, putting it aside, and then picking it back up a week later might be to blame but who knows. There are so many elements of this series that I enjoy but I'm still a bit removed from them all. And as for that twist.. I just don't know how I feel about it. I did love the final page, though. No, the whole final chapter, really. Probably my favourite part of the whole book.Hoping I find the love in book three.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    A Conspiracy in Belgravia was an excellent mystery that lives up to its predecessor and I really enjoyed it.A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up immediately following the conclusion of the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women. Charlotte Holmes, with the assistance of Mrs. Watson, helps solve a variety of mysteries from murder to a lost ring as the illustrious Sherlock Holmes. Upon becoming Sherlock, Charlotte did not anticipate one of her future clients to be Lady Ingram, the wife of a dear friend A Conspiracy in Belgravia was an excellent mystery that lives up to its predecessor and I really enjoyed it.A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up immediately following the conclusion of the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women. Charlotte Holmes, with the assistance of Mrs. Watson, helps solve a variety of mysteries from murder to a lost ring as the illustrious Sherlock Holmes. Upon becoming Sherlock, Charlotte did not anticipate one of her future clients to be Lady Ingram, the wife of a dear friend. Lady Ingram enlists Sherlock to help locate her first love who has gone missing, a man who is none other than Charlotte's illegitimate half-brother.A Conspiracy in Belgravia works well on its own as the mystery is contained to this one book, however I feel it's best if you read the first book before picking this one up. By skipping the first book, you'd miss out on some character connections and there are several scenes that you wouldn't fully understand without the entire back story.Charlotte continues to be a character that impresses me. Her powers of deduction are simply incredible and I love watching her puzzle things out. I do like that she's not entirely infallible and does occasionally have to go over something several times before she works things out. Her relationships with other characters are definitely interesting as Charlotte doesn't process emotions in the same way everyone else does.The side characters in this series are well fleshed out and are all quite unique. Mrs. Watson continues to be my favorite as I love her relationship with Charlotte. Lord Ingram sadly doesn't appear in this book as much as the first, but I loved every time he popped up. His and Charlotte's relationship is certainly intriguing and I'm curious to see where it will go in future books. I’m very excited to see where Livia, Charlotte’s sister, goes with her writings on the adventures of the great Sherlock Holmes. Inspector Treadles is probably the character I like the least as I don't appreciate his views on women, but he is likely an accurate representation of the average person in this time period.One of the places these books continue to excel is in the main case Charlotte finds herself involved in. There were several seemingly unrelated avenues Charlotte explores over the course of the investigation that tie together very nicely in the end. Ciphers and code breaking come up several times which was great as I find the subject fascinating. I'm being intentionally vague as I don't want to give too much away as I find the mysteries in these books to be some of the best parts. I'm quite interested to see where things go with Moriarty and how much of a role he'll have in future books.This book, unlike the first, had Charlotte only taking one case outside of the main one. The case itself was a decent one and the outcome surprised me, but it felt a bit out of place. Every time the characters would stop to work on the side case, it disrupted the flow of the story and I think the book would have been better served with only the one main case.Overall, I am very much enjoying Thomas' take on Sherlock and definitely recommend the Lady Sherlock series to anyone looking for a great historical fiction series with some excellent mysteries. I am now eagerly awaiting future installments in the series.**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleIt's been a full year of delicious anticipation, this waiting for the second volume in Sherry Thomas' delightful Lady Sherlock series. I thoroughly enjoyed A Study in Scarlet Women last year, and I had just a really good gut feeling about where the sequel would take my favorite characters—from the absolutely flawlessly rendered Charlotte Holmes and the impenetrable Lord Ingram, to Mrs. Watson, Livia and Bernadine Holmes, and poor, beleaguered Inspector Trea Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleIt's been a full year of delicious anticipation, this waiting for the second volume in Sherry Thomas' delightful Lady Sherlock series. I thoroughly enjoyed A Study in Scarlet Women last year, and I had just a really good gut feeling about where the sequel would take my favorite characters—from the absolutely flawlessly rendered Charlotte Holmes and the impenetrable Lord Ingram, to Mrs. Watson, Livia and Bernadine Holmes, and poor, beleaguered Inspector Treadles. I was so pleased to be back in their company once more when I finally cracked open my copy of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and commenced reading.It took her awhile, but now Charlotte is living in something more akin to the manner she would prefer. Together with her companion Mrs. Watson (and Mrs. Watson's irrepressible niece and aspiring physician Miss Redmayne), Charlotte is becoming extremely well-versed in the solving of all things mysterious around London. The only black marks on her new life are the distance she is forced to maintain from her sisters Livia and Bernadine and the mutual distance she and Lord Ingram force themselves to maintain from each other. The entire delicate balance is thoroughly upended, however, when none other than Lady Ingram herself requests a consultation with the increasingly infamous Sherlock Holmes. It is a matter of some delicacy, according to Lady Ingram, concerning a young man she once loved. A man she passes once every year at an agreed upon time and place to assure one another of the other's continued safety and devotion from afar. But the man missed their silent rendezvous this year, and Lady Ingram will know the reason why. And so Charlotte finds herself in the most untenable position of investigating on behalf of her oldest and dearest friend's estranged wife, and doing so behind his back. And just when she thinks this case cannot possibly get more personal, it does, and there is absolutely no hope of turning back.Charlotte rarely resorted to imagination—observation yielded far better results. And while the world was made up of innumerable moving parts, in her own personal life she saw no reason why decisions shouldn't be simple, especially since most choices were binary: more butter on the muffin or not, run away from home or not, accept a man's offer of marriage or not.I love Charlotte a little beyond reason. She is everything I could have wanted in a female incarnation of the inimitable Holmes. As a matter of face, every single character was in fine form in this their second adventure together, particularly Livia—who is an absolute treasure. Her relationship with Charlotte, the ways in which they are each hobbled by the most personal and daunting aspects of their lives, and the ways in which they quietly reach out to each other as sisters were extremely affecting. The longing and the loyalty between these two sisters who have dealt with their nightmarish parents in such drastically different ways played out in beautiful contrast. And, okay, while we're on the subject of longing, can I just say that I thought the quiet moments between Charlotte and Lord Ingram in the first book were exquisite. The scenes between them in this one sent me careening over the emotional edge. Just one of the impossibly poignant interactions between Charlotte and Lord Ingram:Soundlessly his fingers tapped the crest rail on which they rested, each one by turn. "Years ago, you said something to me. I don't remember it word for word, but in essence, you told me that men, even otherwise sensible men, fall under the illusion that they will be able to find a perfect woman. That the problem lies not in the search so much as in the definition of perfection, which is a beautiful female who will integrate seamlessly into a man's life, bringing with her exactly the right amount of intelligence, wit, and interests to align with his, in order to brighten every aspect of his existence."She remembered that conversation, one of the most disharmonious they had ever held, on the subject of the future Lady Ingram."You warned me against believing in the illusion—and I was highly displeased. I didn't say so at the time, but as we parted, I thought that you'd certainly never be mistaken for a perfect woman. It was beyond evident you'd never fit readily into any man's life, and no one could possibly think that the purpose of your life was to be anything other than who you were. At the time, those were not kind thoughts. They flew about my head with a great deal of scorn—venom, even. My opinion of you hasn't changed, by the way. But nowadays I think those same thoughts with much resignation but even more admiration." Their eyes met again. His were still the same mysterious green, but now there was a warmth to them, a deep affection tinged, as he said, with much resignation but even more admiration. "I'm sure I'll fly off the handle and accuse you of all kinds of perfidy once I learn what you've been up to, but let it not be said that I don't know who I'm dealing with. We disagree often, and that is a fact of our friendship.I could have cried at them, you guys. Over and over again, I could have. But I chose to wait until this small moment to actually let the tears slip out:"Thank you for listening to me, by the way," she said, "when you didn't wish to hear a single word."He would always listen, when she had something to say. That he did not voice aloud, because she already knew.I feel compelled to note just how emotionally astute this novel is. It is one of its most important qualities. The ring of quiet truth kept rolling over me in waves throughout my reading experience. And, yes, much of it Charlotte's undeniable acumen. But much of it is Ms. Thomas' ability to let a scene unfold in its own time. No moments are rushed. No dialogue is off in the slightest. As Charlotte notes at a certain point, "The old silence threatened to descend." An ever-present sense of the weight of one's personal history, of the quiet, but inexorable accumulation of a life's worth of decisions, their provenance, and their consequences, pervades this story in achingly beautiful ways. The different levels of haunting are delicately explored, in both the coils of the investigation and the ties that bind each character together. I so appreciated this book's subtlety and its increasingly nuanced ruminations on what it means to know someone and to be known by them, to see as we are seen. Sherry Thomas carries the whole thing off just splendidly. This is a sequel to behold. A sequel for the books, as it were. Never think of missing it.
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this mystery, with great narration by Kate Reading. We get a little more Moriarity information, but the best part of this series is the ever expanding set of women pulled into Charlotte's orbit as she expands her detective practice to assist people with a variety of personal puzzles and issues. Inspector Treadles reappears, and has his head more firmly stuck up his posterior regarding 1) how Sherlock Holmes is actually a fallen women, Charlotte Holmes (how horrible!!), and 2) how his wif Enjoyed this mystery, with great narration by Kate Reading. We get a little more Moriarity information, but the best part of this series is the ever expanding set of women pulled into Charlotte's orbit as she expands her detective practice to assist people with a variety of personal puzzles and issues. Inspector Treadles reappears, and has his head more firmly stuck up his posterior regarding 1) how Sherlock Holmes is actually a fallen women, Charlotte Holmes (how horrible!!), and 2) how his wife actually aspired to run her father's company instead of simply running a home for her husband. Why couldn't his wife just be happy darning his socks??? Oh boo hoo!There are several threads in this story, with 1) the mystery in this story involving Lady Ingram, Lord Ingram's wife, who wants Sherlock to find her first love, who has recently gone absent. This puts Charlotte in an uncomfortable position, thanks to her friendship with Lord Ingram, and with Mrs. Watson, whose discomfort with the potential conflict that could result from the case. 2) Livia attempts to fictionalize Sherlock's exploits as a way to take some control over her life and make a little money. 3) Lord Ingram's brother makes a marriage proposal to Charlotte, who must consider this very seriously, as her social position is precarious, and prevents her from being able to provide any assistance to Livia and her sister Bernadette, who both are mostly ignored by their parents. 4) Lord Ingram and Charlotte continue to dance around their feelings for each other, both behaving scrupulously correctly toward the other. 5) Moriarity and his organization figure in a murder of a man Treadles is investigating; Charlotte becomes involved in the case thanks to Lord Ingram's brother's requesting Charlotte assist. While I sometimes became a little confused by all the story threads, I loved 1) Charlotte's, Mrs. Watson and Penelope Redmayne's sleuthing and friendship, 2) Livia's relationship with Charlotte, 3) the ways in which the Sherlock team winkled information out about all sorts of things by talking to other women, whether maids or housekeepers or others, in essence, the kinds of people usually not paid a lot of attention by the men around thm. In fact, the way the author showed us how society perceives women of repute and ill-repute, and how the various women in this story use those perceptions to navigate society, was quite interesting. And the end of this story definitely has me interested to see where Sherry Thomas takes the Sherlock team next.
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  • Kelsey Hudson
    January 1, 1970
    This is a difficult book to review because I love Sherry Thomas, and I love the first book in this series. But my favorite elements from the first book were sadly lacking in this one. While this book was very well researched, Charlotte came to conclusions that were not clear to the reader, and it was very easy to get confused as to what was going on. Characters and situations from the first story were not well explained when they were reintroduced, and the plot really fizzled. I understand that This is a difficult book to review because I love Sherry Thomas, and I love the first book in this series. But my favorite elements from the first book were sadly lacking in this one. While this book was very well researched, Charlotte came to conclusions that were not clear to the reader, and it was very easy to get confused as to what was going on. Characters and situations from the first story were not well explained when they were reintroduced, and the plot really fizzled. I understand that this book is meant to set up Moriarty, but there was no real plot going on. The mystery of the housekeeper, Lady Ingram's mystery, and Charlotte being followed were all little mini-mysteries without much excitement. The mystery with Myron Finch was so convoluted that it began to get tiresome. I'm still going to read this series, and I'm sure my library will buy a copy of this book, but I do hope the next book is more exciting than this one. Also, the cover is awful.
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  • Leona
    January 1, 1970
    This series is definitely not going to be my cup of tea. I would describe the books as "Sherlock Holmes meets Agatha Christie". Given, I'm not particularly found of either, it's not surprising that I don't care for this one. The writing gets sluggish at times. In the first book, the author was laying the ground work. But, the second book should have flowed more easily. This was so bogged down in details, there were times I actually forgot what mystery we were solving for.It took me more than two This series is definitely not going to be my cup of tea. I would describe the books as "Sherlock Holmes meets Agatha Christie". Given, I'm not particularly found of either, it's not surprising that I don't care for this one. The writing gets sluggish at times. In the first book, the author was laying the ground work. But, the second book should have flowed more easily. This was so bogged down in details, there were times I actually forgot what mystery we were solving for.It took me more than two weeks to finish, which is another strike against it, given I can usually read a good book in a day.
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  • Bj
    January 1, 1970
    5 "Ciphers, Marriage Proposals & True Allegiances" Stars!Wow! Lovers of mysteries and strong & smart heroines will not want to miss A Conspiracy in Belgravia! This book blew me away with its cleverness and intrigue as well as the incredible attention and detail paid to character development and the continued flirtation with the possibility of a romance. Two notes of caution should be noted though. First this book is best enjoyed after A Study in Scarlett Women (book 1 of the Lady Sherloc 5 "Ciphers, Marriage Proposals & True Allegiances" Stars!Wow! Lovers of mysteries and strong & smart heroines will not want to miss A Conspiracy in Belgravia! This book blew me away with its cleverness and intrigue as well as the incredible attention and detail paid to character development and the continued flirtation with the possibility of a romance. Two notes of caution should be noted though. First this book is best enjoyed after A Study in Scarlett Women (book 1 of the Lady Sherlock Series). Both the mystery as well as the character development, including the interrelationships between the main characters feed off of developments in the first book making it crucial that you read the debut of this series first for maximum understanding of the setting and to best be able to pick-up on subtle clues and potential angles. Additionally as I mostly read romances, I feel compelled to note that while there is definitely a possibility of romance in this series over its entire arc, Books 1 and 2 love to dangle the possibility of such an occasion without much progress on this front. This book is primarily and almost entirely a historical mystery. Nonetheless for those historical romance lovers, the romantic tension, indeed even the possibility of a love triangle, are very much at play in A Conspiracy in Belgravia. The twistier and better the book, the harder I find it to provide any sort of a book description in my review. This book is certainly no exception. So as not to inadvertently potentially reveal any spoilers, I will keep my story description brief and primarily limited to what is already revealed in the blurb with my own slight gloss.Namely, A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up shortly after the point in time at which A Study in Scarlett Women concludes. Charlotte Holmes has just recently sleuthed her first big case as "Sherlock Holmes." Now its time to move on to another case, and quite surprisingly her next client turns out to be none other than Lord Ingram's wife--though Lady Ingram never meets Charlotte in her quest. Instead, given that Lady Ingram might recognize Charlotte, Charlotte and Mrs. Watson stage a new medium for the reclusive and "sick" Sherlock Holmes to communicate through. This new medium turns out to be Mrs. Watson's niece. And the case that Ms. Ingram asks Sherlock Holmes to solve nearly causes Charlotte to choke on one of her many delicious pastries: namely Lady Ingram wants Holmes to find her first love who neglected to show up at their annual meeting.Of course, this case ends up really trying Charlotte's loyalty. On the one hand, Charlotte would love nothing more than to be able to provide the stimulus for the end to Lady Ingram's and Lord Ingram's marriage (afterall there has been an undeniable attraction between Charlotte and Lord Ingram that began well before his marriage to Lady Ingram). On the other hand, she owes her client her loyalty as a professional detective. Of course, I'm sure you're wondering why not just refuse the case outright then? Well, it turns out that one more fact that Lady Ingram reveals causes Charlotte to want to find the missing man almost as much as Lady Ingram: the missing lover's name is Myron Finch (Charlotte's illegitimate half-brother).There are so many fascinating things about this story. And my description only scratches the surface. From Charlotte's sister Livia to Lord Ingram's brother, Lord Bancroft, interesting sub-plots plentifully emerge to entertain the lucky reader of this spell-binding story. If I had to narrow it down though I'd say that the evolution of the continuing theme of a woman's "rightful" place in society in Victorian London and a wife's dutiful station (at least in the eyes of her husband) as it relates to her ability to work and run a business and ultimately what's really important in selecting a spouse provide the most fodder for entertainment. Moreover, these aspects of A Conspiracy in Belgravia are so wittingly written that they provide the reader with plenty of opportunities for introspection and contemplation. And then there is the mystery itself and its intersection and neatly woven interconnections which are simply amazing and provide great mental gymnastics for puzzle lovers. And then that ending, and all the possibilities yet to come! I simply can't wait to get my hands on the next installment of this series!Source: Paperback giveaway copy. Thank you Berkley Publishing!
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  • Minx -The Genre Minx Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I was enthralled with the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes and was beyond thrilled to get an advanced reader copy of A Conspiracy in Belgravia. This story is the second installment in the Lady Sherlock series and it was truly a fun read. The mystery was layered and oh so good! This story starts directly after the conclusion of the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, and this is a series that is built upon the previous book. I did feel like I was missing some important history by not reading th I was enthralled with the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes and was beyond thrilled to get an advanced reader copy of A Conspiracy in Belgravia. This story is the second installment in the Lady Sherlock series and it was truly a fun read. The mystery was layered and oh so good! This story starts directly after the conclusion of the first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, and this is a series that is built upon the previous book. I did feel like I was missing some important history by not reading the first book in this series. By the end of this story though I felt caught up and I wanted anyone considering reading this series out of order to be aware that this is a series best read in order.The premise of the story is that Charlotte Holmes is putting her extraordinary powers of perception and calculation to work under the guise that she is assisting her fictitious brother, Sherlock Holmes, as his oracle of sorts. In this series, “Sherlock” is bedridden due to a malady but can still put his mind to great use. He uses his sister Charlotte to track down clues, interview suspects and people of interest, and other such matters that need to occur in an investigation. In order to successfully keep up this charade, Charlotte utilizes her friend Mrs. Watson and together they have created a very successful ruse.Charlotte’s character is quite mischievous and calculating. She is the quintessential Holmes character that we have come expect from someone cast in this role. In addition to a fabulous mystery that is layered in its approach, there is a faux romance element, or at least an attempt at one, that is in my opinion quite hilarious. What I adore most about Charlotte’s character is that she does not let her gender define her in a day and age where women were only worth the man they were represented by, be it either a brother, father or husband. She adopted the Sherlock facade only because it was the easiest solution in the Victorian London setting.I enjoyed the story, found the supporting characters to be well done, loved the mystery, laughed at the humor and want to definitely continue with this series. Was there anything I did not enjoy? Sigh, yes, Charlotte’s character was a love-hate one for me. I appreciate that she is a robust woman with a healthy appetite but I am never one to enjoy characters who fixate on their food, and I mean fixate. Then there is the fact that she likes to count her chins. The amount of times her “chins” came up by either her or the other characters was just a bit too much for me. What the heck did it have to do with anything? I just didn’t enjoy that aspect of her character at all, it was an idiosyncrasy that I could have done without.I read A Conspiracy in Belgravia in one day, the story just flowed. I did not want to set it down because I found the plot twists kept me completely engaged. I was a bit turned off my Charlotte’s character and she may drive me away from this series but the cliff hanger at the end of this story is the reason that I must continue. I am hoping that Charlotte’s character will improve and that maybe she will have something else to fixate on in the next book. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that she enjoyed her food and was happy with her body, I just think that for me too much of the story was dedicated to that, it was unnecessary. Overall, great story and an exciting read.This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Find this review and more at The Genre Minx Book Reviews
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  • Blackjack
    January 1, 1970
    Most definitely one of the best books I've read this year, though using a whiteboard and Sharpie wouldn't go amiss here in order to sort through the five seemingly separate mysteries juggled throughout this second book in the Lady Sherlock series. Though I hesitated to get fully on board with Sherry Thomas transitioning over to historical mystery writing given that she is one of my very favorite historical romance writers, it is my fervent hope now that this series continues indefinitely. Over t Most definitely one of the best books I've read this year, though using a whiteboard and Sharpie wouldn't go amiss here in order to sort through the five seemingly separate mysteries juggled throughout this second book in the Lady Sherlock series. Though I hesitated to get fully on board with Sherry Thomas transitioning over to historical mystery writing given that she is one of my very favorite historical romance writers, it is my fervent hope now that this series continues indefinitely. Over the years I've read many mysteries and historical mystery series, but I don't think I've read one as good as this one. The mystery itself is meticulously crafted and exciting, and the character study of the female Sherlock Holmes continues to develop and deepen. I have random thoughts rather than a summary of the story, and I do think going into this book without knowing too much is best. A Conspiracy in Belgravia picks up immediately after A Study in Scarlet Women ends with Charlotte benefiting from an advertisement she posted in the newspapers offering her investigative services for hire. She wants it widely known that she can perform a range of detective work. Charlotte needs the money so that she can provide for herself and remain an independent woman outside of the control of her father and any pesky suitors with hopes of domesticating her. As much as I love the mysteries in this book, I continue to be utterly absorbed in Thomas's examination of what it means to be a sharp and independent 19th- century woman who views marriage with great skepticism. This theme is developed throughout the book and I look forward to where Charlotte can continue to go with her ideas and what ways she can devise to circumnavigate patriarchy. Her greatest admirer, Lord Ingram, continues to support her in every way, including her feminism, and for that alone, he is a wonderful hero. But I loved him too for many reasons in this book, including his respect for his wife. Ingram could very easily have become resentful and sullen but he rises above personal grievances here. The subtle scenes between Charlotte and Ingram were quite moving and made me appreciate how sometimes less is more in romance writing. At times though I wished for more of Ingram in this book, but given the stories being told, I think it makes sense to have him a bit more sidelined this time.I stayed on top of the mysteries here for the most part, and still I was surprised by developments on a number of occasions. I did not anticipate a few of the developments despite my best efforts. Moriarty is the subterranean threat and I cannot wait to see how Thomas expands on his role in Charlotte's life. Needless to say, I am much relieved that Charlotte has taken up self-defense training. I also appreciate that it is Watson who is training her. Kudos to Watson for her unexpected sleuthing abilities and physical skills with a lance. Small details too such as refined carbs serving as Charlotte's weakness are highly entertaining. It's not opium but it is a flaw, and one of a number that Charlotte happily accepts about herself. I got caught up in Livia's romance and so even though Charlotte and Ingram's romance was not as central in this novel, Livia's secondary plot serves this aspect quite well. I continue to enjoy too the strong female friendships and sisterly love. This book abounds with wonderful details and I enjoyed reading each segment carefully to absorb them all.I did not foresee the ending. Having advertised her services to the public, it is clear by the end of the second book that Holmes's name and reputation have standing, and that is both beneficial for Charlotte as well as potentially ominous for her future safety. Having finished the book, I cannot wait for the next next one.
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  • Leseparatist
    January 1, 1970
    While the pacing didn't feel particularly strong, and I struggled a little due to my lack of immediate recollection of details of the previous volume which I think I was expected to recall, I really adored the mood and the twists. It's my favourite Sherlock Holmes iteration by far. I enjoyed the battle of wits and the mysteries (though I would have liked additional clues, I can't really say that's a Holmesian specialty). I found the ultimate reveals to be truly inspired and satisfying and even g While the pacing didn't feel particularly strong, and I struggled a little due to my lack of immediate recollection of details of the previous volume which I think I was expected to recall, I really adored the mood and the twists. It's my favourite Sherlock Holmes iteration by far. I enjoyed the battle of wits and the mysteries (though I would have liked additional clues, I can't really say that's a Holmesian specialty). I found the ultimate reveals to be truly inspired and satisfying and even gasp-worthy, on that final page.I can't wait for the next one.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    Sherry Thomas is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors - I've particularly enjoyed the first novel in her Heart of Blade Duology and her take on Sherlock Holmes is easily one of my all time favorites. As a huge fan of the classic character, I found myself pleasantly surprised by A Study in Scarlet Women and I was so excited to try the sequel to the Lady Sherlock series, A Conspiracy in Belgravia. Luckily for me the sequel was just a brilliant as book one and I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed Sherry Thomas is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors - I've particularly enjoyed the first novel in her Heart of Blade Duology and her take on Sherlock Holmes is easily one of my all time favorites. As a huge fan of the classic character, I found myself pleasantly surprised by A Study in Scarlet Women and I was so excited to try the sequel to the Lady Sherlock series, A Conspiracy in Belgravia. Luckily for me the sequel was just a brilliant as book one and I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed being back in Charlotte's world and with all of these characters again. Long story short but if you love this iconic detective you need to dive into the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas. I can't wait for the release of book three, The Hollow of Fear.
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  • lucky little cat
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know why this series doesn't work better for me. It's a thoroughly researched, inventive, sorta-feminist reworking of the Holmes series. So why amn't I swooning?1) The plot's too opaque. Um, how many not-quite-accurately identified corpses was that again? And you might want to reread Book 1 first since newcomers won't get much of a recap. And oh just skip reading the many all-too-detailed paragraphs about ciphering. 2) Paging John Watson! We need your Holmes-deflating humor. Instead, thi I don't know why this series doesn't work better for me. It's a thoroughly researched, inventive, sorta-feminist reworking of the Holmes series. So why amn't I swooning?1) The plot's too opaque. Um, how many not-quite-accurately identified corpses was that again? And you might want to reread Book 1 first since newcomers won't get much of a recap. And oh just skip reading the many all-too-detailed paragraphs about ciphering. 2) Paging John Watson! We need your Holmes-deflating humor. Instead, this series splits the Watson duties between two utterly humorless characters. Siphoning the writing talent and skill off to frustrated, spinsterish Livia leaves Mrs. Watson stuck in matron-or-mother roles. And of course it's ultra-safe, ultra-armored Matron Watson who ruminates on Women's Issues and hobnobs with housemaids, leaving dashing Charlotte Holmes to wear the lurid gowns and have chemistry-charged conversations with the Men Who Admire Her.3) And intelligent men naturally admire Holmes. Be still, my Harlequin /Silhouette -romance hungry heart. Just what I want in my thinking heroines: effortless sex appeal that the heroine views as a nuisance. 4) Giving Charlotte Holmes a muffin addiction and sugar obsession in place of the original Holmes' cocaine addiction isn't clever or cute. It's demeaning, it's insulting, and it's damned tin-eared fiction writing.
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