Normally, at this point in a series (Murder on Cold Street is the fifth in the Lady Sherlock series) I start to lose interest or forget all of the events of the previous books. The dynamics between characters can become stale, or fail to evolve, and the excitement wanes. However, not so with this novel, an adventure that takes the intrepid Charlotte Holmes to a new part of London, where mysterious murders in the form of a locked-door mystery present themselves.
The end of the last book, The Art of Theft, left readers on a cliff-hanger. Inspector Treadles, an ally to the Holmes gang and a friend of Lord Ingram, has been accused of murder. His wife, Alice, is convinced of his innocence, and engages Holmes and her associates to discover the truth of the matter. It is fortunate that Charlotte is on the case, as the evidence is pretty damning: Treadles was found in a locked room, with two dead men, holding a gun and covered in blood. It actually gets worse: the two dead men are associated with Alice, one is her late father’s business partner, and the other works for her at her company, Cousins Manufacturing. Matters look pretty bleak, to put it frankly. Despite that, the gang begins their task, endeavoring to uncover the truth and save the inspector from the hangman’s noose by Christmas.
I am already a big fan of the series, but I was incredibly impressed by this latest book. It advances the relationships between a number of characters, although most satisfyingly that of Charlotte and Lord Ingram. Thomas always has incredibly strong secondary characters, and I hope some of the ones who appear in Cold Street will return. The mystery itself is intricate, interwoven with details from previous books, which lends the story a curated quality that I really enjoyed. I love the little chosen family Charlotte has made for herself, and I am interested to see the developments the next book will bring. This series is easy to love, and I am content and pleased to see the books only improving with time.
The Art of Theft, by Sherry Thomas can be purchases wherever books are sold, or borrowed from your local library.