Forge, Sep 2003, 25.95, 544 pp.
In 1889 New York based journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane better known as Nellie Bly sends a wire to England to American expatriate and pal Irene Adler Norton. Nellie insists that someone wants to kill Irene's mother. Though having some doubts, Irene worked the Ripper case with Nellie who has some credibility with her. So she and her companion, Nell Huxleigh, head back to her hometown in the states.
In New York City, Irene quickly realizes that someone is killing people who know anything about her childhood. She herself contains only vague memories, but wonders what she has forgotten that has led to a series of murders. Soon her rival Sherlock Holmes, who she has out-sleuthed, enters the game in an effort to end a string of homicides tied back to Irene.
The latest Irene Adler tale, the woman who outwitted Holmes in Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia, is a tremendous late Victorian mystery. The story line has an old world feel to it yet flows fast with plenty of insights into the late nineteenth century New York era and as a bonus, has loads of action. For fans of the series, Carole Nelson Douglas provides some tidbits about the former diva so that the audience has increased knowledge of her past. Historical mystery readers will appreciate FEMME FATALE and want to obtain the previous six Adler novels as this is a strong series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner