Monday, November 4, 2013

A Study in Darkness Hits the Ground Running

A STUDY IN DARKNESS (The Baskerville Affair #2)
Emma Jane Holloway
Del Rey Books
September 29, 2013

A Study in Darkness opens just a few months after the events of A Study in Silks. Evelina Cooper, niece to Sherlock Holmes, has been spending some time with her Grandmama Holmes in Devon after being unceremoniously booted out of the home of her friend, Imogen Roth, daughter of Lord Bancroft. The efforts of Holmes and Evelina exposed Lord Bancroft's involvement in the Baskerville Conspiracy to overthrow the Steam Council's stranglehold on the Empire. Her discoveries were disastrous for both Evelina and Tobias Roth, who is now in the employ of that most loathsome of the Steam Barons, Jasper Keating, The Gold King. Tobias has also agreed to marry Keating's daughter, Alice. Evelina is bereft of both Tobias and Nick, her childhood friend.

The action starts when Evelina arrives on the doorstep of 221B Baker Street to find her uncle held hostage by a man with a gun and bomb and ratchets up from there. Evelina finds herself also in the employ of Keating under threat to Sherlock's and Mycroft's life. She finds herself on the streets of the East End and Whitechapel. The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper is abroad. A Study in Darkness puts Evelina in life threatening danger and only the use of her magic can save her.

Full of battles, pirates, thieves, shady ladies, squalor, sorcerers and very scary automatons, A Study in Darkness is very entertaining in general. However, as in the first book, 500+ pages seems excessive and the action bogs down about the mid-point. It also ends with a double cliff-hanger that I would find annoying, if I did not know that A Study in Ashes is coming in December. The concept is extremely clever and offers a solution to the Jack the Ripper mystery that I doubt anyone ever thought of before! Thanks to Del Rey and netgalley for an advance digital copy.

RATING- 3.5 Airships