The Hollow of Fear

Berkley. (Lady Sherlock, Bk. 3). Oct. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780425281420. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780698196377. M
When Charlotte Holmes helps her half-brother escape from the men who are after him, she senses a plot in motion. Her sister Livia is an unwitting pawn who annually visits Mrs. Newell, a distant relative. But when the cisterns fail at Mrs. Newell's house, all her guests move to Lord Ingram's Stern Hollow estate. Livia is aware that society speculates that Charlotte and Ingram share more than friendship. When Livia and two of the worst gossips in London find Lady Ingram's body in the estate's icehouse, the chief inspector sent from Scotland Yard does everything in his power to prove that Ingram killed his wife while Charlotte goes undercover as Sherlock Holmes's brother to discover the truth about the murder. This third book in the series picks up exactly where A Conspiracy in Belgravia ended, which may be confusing to readers who have not read the earlier entries. Atmospheric and leisurely paced, with careful development of an elaborate story line, the title also offers a thought-provoking view of the expectations and roles of women in Victorian England.
VERDICT Thomas's fans and readers of the Conan Doyle canon, especially The Valley of Fear, will appreciate the intricately crafted mystery, although others may find it difficult to follow. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/18; "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 8/18.]
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