The Dark Lady

Irene Adler, Author
Irene Adler, trans. from the Italian by Chris Turner, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Capstone, $12.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-62370-040-9
Paperback - 239 pages - 978-1-4342-6526-5
Hardcover - 239 pages - 978-1-4342-6523-4
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Originally published in Italy, this pseudonymously written mystery jumpstarts the Sherlock, Lupin and Me series. The swift-moving story brings together young incarnations of three fictional sleuths: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler (who earned Holmes’s admiration in “A Scandal in Bohemia”), and Maurice Leblanc’s “gentleman thief” Arsène Lupin. Adler narrates with a sure voice, introducing herself as Holmes’s “first and only girlfriend.” Though there is the occasional romantic blush, it’s the credible friendship among all three protagonists that drives the action as the spirited threesome pieces together clues and evidence to solve a double mystery. Set in Saint-Malo in the summer of 1870, the plot piggybacks the death of a man of uncertain identity and the theft of a rich matron’s valuable necklace. Adler (a pen name for Italian writer Alessandro Gatti) deftly depicts the shadowy aspects of the seaside resort, moving the action from an abandoned beach mansion to dark alleys, an illegal gambling hangout, and moonlit rooftops. Cliffhanger chapter endings elevate the suspense, and Bruno’s elegant etching-like drawings with filigree borders enhance the novel’s Victorian flavor. Ages 9–13. (Feb.)
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