Find it at your library!

A gender-bent mystery in which the famous, brilliant detective is not Sherlock, but Charlotte, Holmes is not something I knew I wanted, but now that I’ve read it, I want ALL THE SEQUELS. I need more Charlotte and her delightful Mrs. Watson!

In this first entry in the series, Charlotte has just irreparably ruined her own reputation—on purpose. Determined to make a go of life on her own instead of depending on a man, she is looking for a way to earn a living when three people turn up dead, all from the same poison. Charlotte thinks the deaths must be linked, but it won’t be easy for a woman in her position to investigate.  

If you like your mysteries on the cerebral and genteel side, this is the series you want. Thomas’s writing is just so classy. I tried to come up with a better way to put it, but that’s the word that fits the best. It’s like pretty pastel petit fours lined up in the window of a French bake shop: precise and attractive and sweet. Classy. It’s even more amazing when you consider that English isn’t her first language.

That said, it doesn’t make for an easy, breezy read. I actually finished the book and then immediately reread the last third to make sure I had everything right. This is not the kind of book you can snooze through and expect a big payoff. There are a lot of minor characters to keep track of, and they all seem to have complicated relationships with each other. Plot-wise, this book is a tangled web. But I liked Charlotte and her friends so much I was willing to do a bit of unraveling to get my money’s worth. As you would expect from a character based on Sherlock Holmes, Charlotte is pretty complex, and it’s obvious that what we learn about her in this volume is just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two!

Find it at your library!

Sarah MacLean is such a good writer, you'll read her romance novels for the story and not just the * ahem * action.

I've maybe read one other romance this entire year, so when I decided I was in the mood for a saucy read, it seemed like a good idea to go with one of the most popular writers out there. People constantly rave about Sarah MacLean, so I knew I was unlikely to be disappointed. Still, there's a lot of mileage between “not disappointed” and my reaction to this book, which was something like “fireworks and shooting stars and baskets of puppies.”

I couldn't tell you what it is that makes this book special. It's formulaic in a lot of ways. It's not necessarily anything I haven't seen before in a romance novel, plot-wise or character-wise. But...I really liked it. It was fun to read, even when everyone had their clothes on. And I'm rarely one to read deep into a series, but I can't WAIT to see what happens with Penelope's sister and Cross from the gambling den!

Bonus: Would make an excellent stocking stuffer for anyone on your naughty list.