cover image A Tempest at Sea

A Tempest at Sea

Sherry Thomas. Berkley, $17 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-20060-5

Set in 1887, Thomas’s routine seventh Lady Sherlock mystery (after 2021’s Miss Moriarty, I Presume?) finds Charlotte Holmes, who has pretended that there was a Sherlock Holmes whom she assisted while actually conducting the inquiries herself, still faking her death following a confrontation with Professor Moriarty in the previous book. While keeping her survival a secret, Charlotte accepts a request from Lord Remington, the man responsible for most of the British Empire’s intelligence-gathering, who wants her to trace a sensitive missing dossier. The trail leads her to the RMS Provence, a vessel traveling from Southampton to Gibraltar. On board, her assignment takes a different tack when a passenger is shot to death; the killer left some graffiti on an adjacent wall, including the words common and vulgar. The need to solve the murder complicates the initial mission. The prose can be awkward (“How incompetent must a man be, to turn a simple hymen breaching into one of the biggest Society scandals in years?”), and the characters aren’t much more than stock types. Readers interested in a gender-flipped Holmes will be better served by Claire O’Dell’s more imaginative Sara Holmes novels. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Mar.)