Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: Good Night Mr. Holmes

Good Night Mr. Holmes
Carole Nelson Douglas
Available at, Barnes and, and B&N and Borders retail bookstore locations.

In a nutshell, if you like mysteries set in Victorian England, with lots of spot-on period details and engaging/endearing characters, then this book is for you. And by the way, Victorian England in this instance does not equal boring and stuffy.

Before I get on with the review, no, this is not a horror, science fiction or fantasy novel, nor was it penned by an author just starting out, so yes, I freely broke out of my own set of reviewing parameters.

Carole Nelson Douglas is an accomplished author, with 61 books to her credit, amongst them her successful Midnight Louie mystery series, and this series, the Irene Adler mysteries.
I wanted to shine the spotlight on Douglas's Irene novels since we just saw the character of Irene Adler brought to life in the recent film, Sherlock Holmes.
Granted, Douglas's Irene was not the precise inspiration for the theatrical Irene; however, her books bring the reader a very likable and fascinating character and deserve to be read.

Irene Adler is "the woman" to Sherlock Holmes and the only woman to ever outwit him.
In Good Night Mr. Holmes, we meet Penelope Huxleigh, who is Irene's own Dr. Watson, and it is through her eyes we are told the tale.
Penelope and Irene meet on the streets of London after Penelope has been dismissed from her job at a fabric purveyor, homeless and penniless. Irene deftly saves Penelope from being accosted by a street urchin and the two end up taking a meal together, leading to Irene revealing her powers of observation concerning Penelope's circumstances. Rather taken aback, Penelope nonetheless accepts Irene's offer of lodging for the night and thus their friendship starts.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Charles Tiffany & Anton Dvorak, which lend the tale a true-to-life air.
Missing jewels, a thought-to-be-lost personal possession and a widow's inheritance are a few of the mysteries Irene must solve, with Sherlock Holmes himself, haunting the background.
However, it is Irene's involvement with the Prince soon-to-be King of Bohemia that takes up the second half of the book and lays the groundwork for an interesting twist at the end.

Irene is clever, advanced in her way of thinking and acting for woman of her time, which makes reading this so enjoyable.

Good Night Mr. Holmes is a rousing start to an 8 book series and I intend to review the rest of the Irene books, so watch this space!

For more information on Carole Nelson Douglas, please visit: