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Lady Sherlock #3

The Hollow of Fear

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Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, returns in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and A Study in Scarlet Women, an NPR Best Book of 2016.

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.

Moriarty’s shadow looms large. First, Charlotte’s half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte’s close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.

With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram—and a number of malevolent forces…

329 pages, Paperback

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

Sherry Thomas

39 books6,363 followers
USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided years ago that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, young adult, and three books inspired by the martial arts epics she grew up devouring. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio.

A Study in Scarlet Women, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, and The Hollow of Fear, the first three entries in her gender-bending Lady Sherlock historical mystery series, are all NPR best books of the year. The Magnolia Sword, her 2019 release, is the first young adult retelling of the original Ballad of Mulan in the English language.

Sherry emigrated from China at age 13 and English is her second language.

“Sherry Thomas has done the impossible and crafted a fresh, exciting new version of Sherlock Holmes. From the carefully plotted twists to the elegant turns of phrase, A Study in Scarlet Women is a splendid addition to Holmes’s world. This book is everything I hoped it would be, and the next adventure cannot come too soon!” —Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

“Thomas weaves a lush, intricate fantasy world around a gorgeous romance that kept me riveted until the very last page. What a breathtaking journey!” (Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series )

"Sherry Thomas is the most powerfully original historical romance author writing today."—Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author

Visit Sherry at her website

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,692 reviews
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,112 reviews2,802 followers
March 5, 2021
The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock #3) by Sherry Thomas, narrated by Kate Reading

Once again, a very entertaining, although complex and confusing, Sherlock (Charlotte) Holmes story. I won't even try to describe what it's about other than to say that Charlotte and Lord Ingram are thrown together (very closely indeed!) in this story that takes place several months after the second book in the series. Charlotte's sister, Livia, is still writing her alternate gendered, somewhat based on real life, Sherlock Holmes book and on meeting Inspector Treadles for the first time and taking an immediate dislike to him, has decided to characterize him as a bumbling, inept detective in her novel. I love these ways of explaining why things are different, in these novels, from the real Sherlock Holmes books. 

In this latest outing of Charlotte and company, Charlotte has perfected her disguise as Sherlock's short, portly, almost comical looking brother, Sherrinford Holmes. Because of the seriousness of the latest case, Charlotte loses her usually ever present appetite so we get an abundance of descriptions of Charlotte mutilating delectable pastries and other dishes. I've now gotten used to the idea that it takes an effort to follow all that goes on in this series, especially since this one contains a timeline that sometimes goes back a few days or months. Still, I look forward to starting book #4, later today.

Published October 2nd 2018
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 10 books7,515 followers
September 4, 2019
I would literally give my first born up for an early copy of this book. I don't even like kids that much anyway.
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
813 reviews1,868 followers
October 17, 2018
This is the third in The Lady Sherlock series. We don't have a Sherlock Holmes, but we have Charlotte Holmes - the female sleuth who heads up the investigations. She also has a female sidekick, Mrs. Watson. The gender switch from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson worked well and made this one even more fun. Go girls!

I'm sure that I should have started with the first in the series because I missed out on some of the background on many of the characters. It also opens with a scene from book two that I would have liked to been "in on". I was able to catch on to the mystery and add up the clues.

The setting was atmospheric with a Victorian flair that I really enjoyed. It was like peeking in on the country estate of Lord Ingram and listening in on their conversations as the mystery unfolds. A body is found in the ice cellar and the "gossip ladies" start spreading their tales.

I just loved the chemistry between the characters and there is even a bit of steamy romance that sneaks in. I would definitely recommend reading these in order so you don't miss the background stories.

Thanks Berkley for my Arc to read/review.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,678 reviews1,013 followers
November 18, 2018
I've given this a straight A at AAR.

It seems that my reaction, whenever I finish one of Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock books, is forever destined to be one of complete awe as I sit stunned, with my brain trying to catch up while I’m also trying to scrape my jaw up off the floor. I’m not sure I’m capable of forming whole sentences just yet, because DAY-UM, but the woman has a devious mind!

The Hollow of Fear is the third in the series, and it opens exactly where book two – A Conspiracy in Belgravia – left off. So be aware that what I’m going to say next is a spoiler for that book, and that there are most likely to be spoilers for the other books in this review. Readers should also know that while there is information dotted throughout that supplies some of the backstory, I’d strongly recommend reading all the books in order so as to gain a greater understanding of all the relevant events.

The plotline of Conspiracy concerned the search for one Myron Finch, who is Charlotte Holmes’ illegitimate half-brother. In a surprise twist tight at the end of the book, we learned that Finch has actually been hiding in plain sight all this time, working as the Holmes family’s coachman, and this conversation continues at the beginning of Hollow. Finch explains that he’s in hiding from Moriarty because he – Finch – has something belonging to his former master and knows that death will be his punishment should Moriarty ever find him. After a daring escape – made with the aid of Stephen Marbleton (whose mother was married to Moriarty at one time) – Charlotte is making her way back to the house she shares with Mrs. Watson when a carriage draws up beside her, the door opens – and the gentleman inside gives his name as Moriarty.

Skipping ahead a few months, we find Charlotte and Mrs. Watson comfortably settled in a cottage situated not very far from Stern Hollow, the country estate of Charlotte’s closest friend, Lord Ingram Ashburton.  The two have known each other since they were in their teens and it’s been very clear from the moment readers were introduced to Lord Ingram – Ash – that there’s more lying between him and Charlotte than friendship.  But he is married (albeit very unhappily) and Charlotte is… an unusual woman, to say the least, one who does not “understand the full spectrum of human emotions”, or rather, whose own reactions to those emotions are not always those that are desired or easily understood by others.  Lord Ingram and Charlotte know and understand each other on a deep, instinctual level, and their relationship is both beautiful and frustrating; the complementary way their minds work is wonderful to see – when it comes to logic and investigation, their thoughts mesh seamlessly – but their emotional connection is far more complex and Lord Ingram, fully aware of the nature of his feelings for Charlotte, is just as fully aware that they may never be returned as he would wish.

However, the reason Charlotte and Mrs. Watson are sojourning near Stern Hollow is not Lord Ingram, but Charlotte’s sister, Olivia, who is staying close by, at a house party being hosted by their father’s cousin, Mrs. Newell.  Given that Charlotte was disowned after her disgrace ( A Study in Scarlet Women ), she cannot openly contact Livia and hopes she will be able to see her while she is in the vicinity.  It looks as though fate is against them when Mrs. Newell’s home is flooded and it seems the party must be broken up, but Lord Ingram steps in to offer the hospitality of Stern Hollow to the displaced guests.  Livia’s enjoyment of her new surroundings is slightly marred by the presence of  two of society’s pre-eminent gossips, who have alleged that Charlotte and Lord Ingram are lovers and are trying to prove it.  Lady Ingram’s continued absence – the story is that she has gone abroad for the sake of her health; the truth is that she was divulging state secrets to Moriarty, and was allowed to leave the country before she could be arrested – produces even more juicy speculation on the part of the two ladies, who are now putting forth the rumours that Lord Ingram may have done away with the wife from whom he was known to be estranged in order to marry Charlotte.  When, a day or so later, Lady Ingram’s dead body is discovered in the ice house, Livia knows it will look as though those rumours are true – and that there’s only one person who will be able to prove Lord Ingram’s innocence.

Gah!  There’s so much more I could say about this book, but I don’t want to give too much away.  The bulk of the story is devoted to the investigation into Lady Ingram’s death – but it’s far more complicated than that, and we’re gripped by the various twists, turns and discoveries as Sherlock’s ‘brother’ – Sherrinford Holmes – helps Lord Ingram to ferret out and piece together the evidence needed to exonerate him. There’s no question the stakes are high; this is the first time we’ve seen Charlotte even the slightest bit rattled, and the pervasive sense of fear running throughout the story is palpable.  For three-quarters of the novel, Ms. Thomas lulls readers into the belief that this is the story – only to rip out the carpet from under our feet and show it’s been about something else all along, revealing that while Ash’s life really IS on the line, he and Charlotte are facing a very dangerous, devious foe and they’re out to do much more than bring a murderer to justice.  That’s not the only twist in the tale however – a couple of chapters later I was reeling from yet another unexpected reveal that had my husband wondering what on earth I was swearing aloud about!

One of the (many) things that marks the  Lady Sherlock  series out as superior to so many other historical mysteries is the incredible amount of character development going on.  More layers of Charlotte’s complex personality are peeled back here, and we learn a lot more about Lord Ingram and his unpopular wife; but most importantly, with Ash and Charlotte together for almost the entire book we get to see the reality of their messy, complicated relationship and to gain a deeper understanding of why things between them are the way they are.  Their scenes together are electric, the sexual tension so thick it could be cut with a knife; the author wasn’t kidding when she said – “this is the one in which the romance between Charlotte Holmes and her good friend Lord Ingram really picks up steam”, so it’s not a spoiler to say that there are some interesting developments between them, but there is still much to hope for in future instalments.

Even with the high-stakes plot and the character and relationship development, there’s still time to shine a light on Charlotte’s family situation; on her plans for Bernadine, the older sister whose mind has never progressed beyond early childhood and on Livia, prone to melancholy and fearful for the future, but fiercely devoted to Charlotte – and, it seems, in love for the first time.  Inspector Treadles, who has been struggling ever since discovering Sherlock Holmes’ true identity, his judgement strongly coloured by his – probably typical for the time – misogynistic views as to what a woman should and shouldn’t be, proves a trustworthy ally, and by the end of the book – thanks to Charlotte – he’s realised the need to let go of this preconceived ideas.

The story is very cleverly constructed, making excellent use of flashbacks in the latter part to complete the bigger picture and fill in some of the information the reader almost doesn’t realise has been withheld. That’s not to say that I felt cheated at any point – I didn’t.  But I was able to figure out some things and not others, meaning that there were still plenty of surprises in store, and I loved that.

The Hollow of Fear is yet another tour de force from Sherry Thomas – and long may she continue to deliver them. A mystery filled with as many twists and turns as any Conan Doyle fan could wish for, a fascinating character study, and an unusual romance, it’s easily the best book of the series (so far) and my only complaint is that I have to wait until next year for another helping.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,019 reviews15.7k followers
November 2, 2018
This was an atmospheric captivating story that made me want to say, “Elementary my dear Mrs. Watson.”

This is the third installment in the Lady Sherlock series... admittedly I was a little confused in the beginning, having not read the first two books in this Series... because from what I understand this book pics up where the previous book ends... eventually I got into the swing of it and was completely captivated, however I really would have appreciated it more had i more of the backstory.... I am such a character girl and Charlotte both baffled and intrigued me, I know I would have loved to get to know her better.... SO, I would strongly encourage you not to do what I did and start this book from the beginning!

This book had a little bit of everything murder, romance, secrets, family drama.... all set against the backdrop of Victorian England.... The tone and the language in the story really brought this period in history to life.... The book opens with Charlotte finding her illegitimate half brother, and there is a connection to Moriarty... The boy has something Moriarty Wants... The book goes forward from there... with the murder of Lady Ingram The wife of charlotte’s love interest.... Lord Ingram, of course is the primary suspect, so Charlotte takes it upon herself to solve the case... with Mrs. Watson by her side and in disguise as the brother of Sherlock Holmes Charlotte was an extraordinary and exceptional and maybe a little unconventional detective! I have to say my absolute favorite parts of this book were the interactions between Charlotte and Mrs. Watson, I also loved Charlotte in disguise, that was fabulous!

An engaging read that I’m sure any fan of this series will love... i’m hoping to read the first two books in the series before the next one comes out... and I’m pretty certain there will be a next one because it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger just called me Sherlock, or should I say just call me Charlotte!🔍

*** A big thank you to Berkley for my copy of this book ***
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,125 reviews30.2k followers
October 31, 2018
How fun to review an atmospheric mystery for Halloween! 👻 🎃 🕷 🎃

I love the idea behind this series! Female companions Holmes and Watson during the Victorian era- how fun! This is the third installment in the Lady Sherlock series, and while I feel this can be read as a stand-alone, I think my experience would have been richer if I had known more of the backstories of Holmes and Watson, as well as the connections between installments. That said, Thomas includes some backstory as well.

Just as Sherlock did, Charlotte Holmes attracts to her those who need help. A couple big events happen. The first is Charlotte’s brother is missing. Shortly thereafter, Lady Ingram, married to Charlotte’s friend, Lord Ingram, is murdered…and it appears Lord Ingram is to blame.

Charlotte goes undercover to find out what happened. Will she be successful?

Charlotte is at once awkward and off-putting, but endearing at the same time. She is also highly intelligent and masterful in her analysis. I was especially impressed that she is able to live as an independent woman during Victorian times, which was no small feat. Sherry Thomas writes in a classic style that fits with both the time period and the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories we all know and love.

Overall, The Hollow of Fear is a strong effort filled with a colorful cast of characters, mystery, intrigue, and ultimately, charm. I am ready to read the first two installments now to spend more time with Charlotte!

Thanks to Berkley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Julie .
4,028 reviews58.9k followers
November 4, 2021
The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas is a 2018 Berkley publication.

This third installment in the ‘Lady Sherlock’ series gets even more interesting…

When Lord Ingram’s estranged wife turns up dead, naturally Scotland Yard considers him to be a prime suspect, and naturally Charlotte will try to discover who was the real murderer.

Wow! This was a very good episode in the series! The mystery wasn’t as difficult to follow as the last installment and some very stunning twists caught me off guard.

I loved all the developments, the very well-plotted story line, and the wonderful characterizations- but the dialogue in this installment was exceptional.

I loved the conversations that involved Inspector Treadles which prompted him to examine his own attitudes towards women and take a closer look at his relationship with his wife. Good stuff!

Charlotte’s costumes and disguises were also fabulous, and she gave me more than a few chuckles- such a great character!

The conclusion was a real stunner! Again- Wow! Did not see that coming!

I was hoping to have caught completely up with the series before the sixth book was released, but obviously, I am not going to make that deadline-

But- I’m still hoping to get caught up before the end of the year. As exciting as the series is, I won’t have any trouble finding motivation to achieve that goal!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Jenny.
269 reviews98 followers
January 14, 2019
Women in Victorian literature were often depicted as a frail creature whose only goal in life was to wed an acceptable man and retire to a life of parties, balls, dinner and teas. Our heroine Charlotte does not reflect that image.
We first meet Charlotte as she deduces that the coachman is actually her half brother Myron in disguise. Her ability to see through the disguise is prodigious but well within her abilities. After all, she is Sherlock Holmes, the most brilliant detective of the times.
From the first meeting, we step into the life of Charlotte Holmes, consulting detective. As the story unfolds Charlotte must assist Myron as he attempts to erode the arch criminal Moriarity, live within the society norms that have made her an outcast, and prove her love, Lord Ashburton Ingram innocent of the murder of his life.
Charlotte is brillant but is that enough to unravel these complex situations and issues? In a well structured and reasoned plot she faces these issues and it is a must read to find out.
This is a complex mystery well worth the readers attention. You will come to appreciate Charlotte and respect her abilities. Clearly, Sherry Thomas, author of The Hollow of Fear, knows and understands the character she has created. I am sure there will be more adventures and I look forward to reading and enjoying them.
I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. #Netgalley #TheHollowofFear
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
418 reviews14.4k followers
November 1, 2018
I am so excited to finally get to share my review of Hollow of Fear. I read this book with the book besties and we thought this would be the perfect day to celebrate such a fun mystery! This one is not chills, but it has tons of thrills—so don’t fear if you are someone who doesn’t like things that are too scary. This is the type of murder mystery that is perfect for some cozy-in-bed October reading. I absolutely loved this book!

About the Book

Under the cover of "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don't.

Moriarty's shadow looms large. First, Charlotte's half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte's close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.

With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram--and a number of malevolent forces...


It is impossible to read this book and not feel delighted and in awe. Charlotte Holmes is a truly outstanding lead character, made all the more so because she isn’t the narrator, and we see her working only through the eyes of others. When we hit the conclusion to the mystery, all of her cryptic behavior and powers of deduction come to fruition and the path she leads us on to the solution is awe-inducing. To say I’m a fan of this series is a MASSIVE understatement.

I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and always have been. When I was in high school and college, The Hound of the Baskervilles was my go-to book if I was home sick. I’ve always enjoyed the mental gymnastics of deductive thinking and forensic science that is Homes’ signature sleuthing style. To my absolute delight, Charlotte Holmes is every bit as intelligent and sharp-witted, and she has some alluring feminine wiles to go with it! The writing of this book is very authentic to the style of the original Sherlock Holmes books. I think readers will be delighted to find themselves immersed in Holmes’ mystery, and you may even forget that Holmes wasn’t a woman all along!

As for the mystery—well it has just enough salaciousness to feed the townsfolk. Lord Ingram is a sympathetic character. Trapped by his own selfishness in youth, and trying to follow through with his commitments. Only to then find himself the center of a murder investigation by a woman who is frankly deplorable. Then we have the disgraced Charlotte Holmes, who describes her own fall from grace with the intelligence and humility we’d expect from Lady Sherlock. She is a saucy character with the brain of a genius. In fact, I want to end my review with this quote (which I loved):

“The woman was a holy terror: the sweetest face, the pillowiest bosom, and a perspicacity that stripped a man naked in seconds.”
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,403 reviews1,851 followers
October 29, 2018
Different gradients of incredulity flickered across his face, as he no doubt tried to decide whether she truly was comparing her lack of appetite to an instance of impotence.

Hands down, no question, my favourite of the series. Once again proving why (sometimes) my stubbornness to push on with something I'm not loving can actually pay off.

"The Good Lord ought to consider making non-cranky geniuses, for a change."
"I don't mind -- at least he is a genius. Plenty of men are cranky without the least bit of brilliance for excuse."

I think this was the twistiest of Thomas' stories, too. I can't (won't) reveal much but there were some very very satisfying parts in THE HOLLOW OF FEAR. I am a bit miffed about how those same parts resolved in the end but.. yeah, miffed. However the story, the plot, the weaving of clues and misdirection, and everything, was so damn perfect. I wasn't bored a single moment of this one, unlike the ones before, and I can't wait for more from the Lady Sherlock series.

4.5 "the woman was a holy terror : the sweetest face, the pillowiest bosom, and a perspicacity that stripped a man naked in seconds" stars

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Michelle.
976 reviews12 followers
December 27, 2018
1.5 stars. Ugh. It looks like I'm way in the minority here, but this book really irritated me. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and loved the second one and was so excited for this one. For most of this book, I wasn't feeling it quite as much as the first two, but I was still enjoying it, and then the ending happened, and it just left a really bad taste in my mouth (which means it's also going to be hard to talk about what I didn't like without spoilers).

First off, I've never really been into Sherlock Holmes, so I don't really care about this series as an adaptation, per se. Like, I don't care how different things are translated/adapted over, I just want to enjoy the characters and the mystery in their own right, and everything to do with Ash/Charlotte because I enjoyed their doomed angstiness in the first two books so much. The mystery here was interesting enough because it directly involved Ash, and I'm always more into mysteries where there's some sort of direct connection to the main characters, so that part was good at least.

And now is where I have to go into spoilers:

Basically, I think I was supposed to be impressed or awed about how everything came together in the end and how I was tricked or didn't see certain things coming, but it all just felt so implausible, it tainted things I had previously been enjoying in the book, and it ended in me feeling like I had been manipulated and jerked around for the whole book, which isn't a feeling I enjoy. I honestly don't know if I will read a fourth book in this series, and this was one of my favorite series I discovered last year, so that's a huge disappointment for me.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,121 followers
October 30, 2018
Vastly enjoyable third installment in this excellent series. Detective novel with real heart, Holmes pastiche with real originality and difference. The romance between Charlotte and Lord Ingram finally comes to a boil here as he is accused of his wife's murder, and a lot of the threads carefully laid in the first two books flinally weave into the pattern. (I would strongly recommend reading all three back to back, in order to get the most impact.) The mystery element is very cleverly constructed, and the social elements (particularly the simmering rage about women's treatment in society) are front and centre but Thomas never lets either detract from the human story. Terrific stuff, loved it.
Profile Image for Blackjack.
424 reviews142 followers
October 17, 2018
Another phenomenal addition to Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series. I did not want this book to end. Though in all honestly, I may have enjoyed the sprawling mystery in A Conspiracy in Belgravia just slightly better, The Hollow of Fear is nonetheless tightly constructed and complex enough that the big revelations when they come are shocking, somewhat sad, and well worth the wait. The last thirty pages has some truly surprising disclosures. Part of me wants to go back now to the first two immediately for the clues that must be there to explain where we’re at by the end of this book. Not only has this addition to the series done a great job all on its own, but kudos to Thomas for bringing the entire series together so cleverly.

I knew in advance that this book would put the romance between Charlotte and Ingram front and center, but still, I was surprised by how much the romance is developed and how brutally honest both characters are with each other about their feelings and expectations. The romance is not resolved by the end and their relationship is left on a bit of a cliffhanger, but I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

Many times, this book feels like an Agatha Christie murder mystery. The vast majority of the novel takes place at Lord Ingram’s lovely estate during a house party where Lady Ingram’s body is discovered frozen in the ice house. As evidence mounts and points increasingly to Lord Ingram as the culprit, all eyes turn to “Sherrinford” Holmes, Sherlock’s portly younger brother, to solve the case. I do so hope that Sherrinford reemerges in future books, as he is a hilarious addition to the cast.
Of course, only a few select people know that Charlotte is actually Sherrinford under guise, and so much of the fun of this new character is watching how well Charlotte can perform the role of a man, and a congenial and even coarse talking one at that. Gender performativity is quite significant in this book, and in the entire series. Up until now, Charlotte’s hyper feminine appearance allows her to look like the conventional Victorian woman. Those who know her best though know that underneath the frilly clothing, bountiful breasts, and curly blond hair, is a woman disconnected from femininity or even beliefs in binary gender. I don’t believe that Sherry Thomas is insinuating that Charlotte is transgender either though for Charlotte is just as disinclined to identify as a man. She performs gender because she is forced to be compliant with social norms, but also because performance is the essence of Charlotte. Social rules are more mysterious to her than her most challenging cases as Sherlock Holmes. But she knows how to adjust and fake it in every way. I find this concept, as it is represented in this series, best understood through Ingram’s eyes. Charlotte is always somewhat unknowable. It is telling that Ingram thinks of her primarily as “Holmes,” and as frustrating as Charlotte is to him, he knows that his rule-abiding behavior and acceptance of social conventions, creates enormous obstacles for a comfortable relationship with Charlotte. It is likely that she might always be a bit out of his reach. I have faith in Sherry Thomas though that she will be able to pull off a world where Charlotte/Sherlock/Sherrinford and Ingram can construct a happy ending, eventually. I don’t know how she’ll get us there, but I feel strongly she will. Incidentally, I love too in this book that Stephen Marbleton is a quite convincing cross-dresser. Suffice to say that Charlotte, Myron, and Stephen’s cross dressing alike threw even the most devious of villains off their game.

I love the complications of characters like Charlotte who test everyone’s understanding of what it means to be a woman or “womanly,” or even what it means to be neurotypical. One of the underlying assumptions is that Charlotte is on the autism spectrum. That may or may not be true, and I think Thomas points to a problem with how we imagine “normal” when it intersects with gender. Charlotte does not want what most women, claim to want, or are told to want. Therefore, we see Charlotte through the eyes of frustrated people who cannot understand her. Is autism a metaphor for “unnatural” women in this series? I don’t know yet, but I have never felt as fascinated by Charlotte than I have from reading this third book.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
September 24, 2018
My most favorite Holmes book to date!
Full review to come.


I know I've said this before but it bares saying again, this series is truly outstanding. So well written, engaging and completely addicting.

With a heroine unlike any 19th century heroine I've meet, not to mention a whole cast of characters that are every bit as irresistible as the main character. Truly a series I adore reading and am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book, they can never get here soon enough.

I would love to say I relish them and take them slow but I can't help myself and more often than not, devour them in a single sitting. I just can't get enough and The Hollow of Fear has to be my absolutely favorite to date.

To the slow burn romance and sexual tension, to the riveting mysteries, it truly stands out not only in the sub-genre it's in, but the genre as a whole.

Charlotte as a character should be unlikable with her aloofness and almost cold like appearance and actions and yet, she isn't. In fact, she is down right lovable when it comes to her feisty-ness and her unwillingness to let men rule the world. She skirts modern society and laughs in the faces of those that tell her a women isn't able to do something. She is fierce and strong and you can't help but feel for her, her station in life and her pure guts and determination to make it on her own without a man's help or guidance. In short, I adore her and after reading this, I adore Ash every more. *swoon*

This truly went above and beyond my expectations for the series, as a mystery, as a romance, as a whole. I truly am on edge for more.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews787 followers
October 17, 2018
The Lady Sherlock series has become a favorite one for me since I read book two, A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA last year. Since then have I devoured the first book A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN and now the latest in the series, THE HOLLOW OF FEAR. It may be prudent to start with the first book to get the backstory of the characters and events, as well as because this book is connected to the story in A CONSPIRACY IN BELGRAVIA.

722 reviews306 followers
October 6, 2018
The fact that I buy Sherry Thomas's historical novels automatically and ignore the price says a lot about my admiration for her writing. Her new Lady Sherlock series costs much more than the arbitrary limit I've set myself for escape reading, but what's a fan to do except buy them anyway?

This third entry in Thomas's gender-bending take on Sherlock Holmes begins approximately where #2 left off, with half brother Myron Finch, once associated with Moriarty and now on the outs, needing to escape. However, that's not really the main thrust of this new chapter in Charlotte's life. Instead, we have her lifelong friend (and love interest, in thought, not deed) Lord Ingram suspected of the murder of his estranged wife. While she is supposedly in Switzerland for health reasons, her body is found at Stern Hollow, Ingram's estate.

Nothing to be done for it but to get Charlotte on the case to prove his innocence. But she does so in the guise of "Sherrinford Holmes", brother to the fictional Sherlock she had invented to allow herself the freedom to solve mysteries. Sherrinford, a rather paunchy young man with a thick beard and a handlebar moustache, is a snappy dresser and a bit of a dandy. He put me in mind of a young Hercules Poirot with a more extravagant taste in clothing.

Disguised as Sherrinford, Charlotte is able to successfully interact with police inspectors and suspects alike as she investigates the murder. Successful, we should say, with the exception of a couple of people who see through her disguise.

There's many a recurring character here. Sister Olivia (Livvy) continues to claim more and more pages in these books, as she worries about sister Bernadine, writes her Sherlock adventure stories, and pines for Stephen Marbleton (who is possibly Moriarty's son). Mrs. Watson continues to give Charlotte companionship and support. Inspector Treadle is here again (with his boss Chief Inspector Fowler) to investigate Lady Ingram's murder. He is in a quandary because of his friendship with Lord Ingram and, in addition, has an unrelated marital problem which is unsettling him.

And then there's Charlotte. She's almost at Maximum Tolerable Chins as the story begins, still enjoying her baked goods, cakes, tarts, etc., going about solving puzzles and mysteries with little emotional investment in their outcome. Then Lord Ingram is accused of murder and it's up to Charlotte to save him.

And what happens? "Miss Holmes, with her otherwise constant and unfailing adoration of baked goods, had lost her appetite." Mrs. Watson and Lord Ingram look on with terror and worry, respectively. Charlotte's chins are disappearing by the day. And we get more insight into Charlotte and the way she handles emotions. Yes, she does feel them. She just processes things differently from the rest of the cast of characters here.

There's really only one mystery to solve in this Book 3, as opposed to the first two books, which had several cases within their pages, some connected to the main mystery of the book, some not. But the mystery of this one is of major importance in Charlotte's life. It's Lord Ingram's freedom and life hanging in the balance. And at the same time, this serious threat to Lord Ingram's reputation and future causes him and Charlotte to take a closer look at their personal relationship.

There is always a feminist theme and tone to much of what occurs in these Lady Sherlock stories. It is not as exaggerated and anachronistically annoying as in several other HRs by a few other authors I've read recently, such as Kelly Bowen's new series, and not preachy like Courtney Milan's writing. It worked for me.

BTW, don't expect everything to be tied up with a bow in this story. We still have unresolved issues with Moriarty, Myron Finch and Stephen Marbleton, for example. To be continued...
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,211 reviews132 followers
August 6, 2019
The beauty of an e-reader, at times, is that it can be difficult to figure out how close to the end you are in a book when you’re really involved in the book. Yeah, you can check the percent but not while you know you need to keep pushing on.

So at one point, I was dismayed that this well-written Holmes-esque novel was barely staying a three-star read... I was frustrated with what I assumed was the ending. But never fear, Holmes is on the case (along with Scotland Yard) and Moriarty is pulling strings behind the scenes... that really wasn’t the ending. No, the red herrings and plot reveals were just getting started.

Sure a few plot twists weren’t really deducted in any realistic manner, but I just loved the pursuit!!

Charlotte and Lord Ingram are the delightfully non-traditional detective and reluctant victim supported by a variety of characters, all familiar and yet not all as they seem. Throw a touch of romance in there and that last 20 percent saved the day and returned the book to being a 🌟🌟🌟🌟 read!!

In other words, another worthy installment in Sherry Thomas’ Sherlock Holmes gender bending detective series.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,599 reviews192 followers
November 23, 2018
Charlotte Holmes is back, as unintentionally funny and brilliant as ever, along with Olivia and Mrs. Watson. This time, Lord Ingram comes under suspicion of murder when Lady Ingram’s body is found on the grounds of his estate. And Charlotte grows concerned about her sisters’ safety as Moriarty’s search for the Holmes sisters’ half-brother picks up.
The story moved along at a good clip, with the tension growing along with each sweet treat Charlotte did not eat while figuring her way through a case with plenty of false evidence piling up against Lord Ingram. Charlotte and the women surrounding her run circles around Detective Inspector Fowler, who’s overly quick to see Ingram guilty. And Treadles finally is thwacked across the head, ok, not really, but is set straight by Charlotte for his judgemental, superior attitude and shaming ways towards women who don’t behave as he sees as respectable.
The case was sufficiently complicated to keep me paying close attention, and one really would have to have read the previous instalment to understand some of the situations and references in this story, which was a highly enjoyable entry in the Lady Sherlock series.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,435 reviews828 followers
December 31, 2021
This series is finally coming into its own. This book was definitely the best so far, so tricksy! I’m not sure if the plot was simpler, or it was just that I’ve got used to the large cast, but the story was great. I was surprised at many points. I loved that we learned more about Livia in this installment and I’m looking forward to seeing the story develop from here.
Profile Image for Lady Wesley.
927 reviews320 followers
October 28, 2018
Fabulous, as expected, in both the written and audio versions. Kate Reading narrates, and she is the perfect narrator for this author. I have said the same thing about her performances of Loretta Chase's books, which are nothing like Sherry Thomas's, but that must be evidence of Reading's superlative skills.

This is the best of the series so far, and they simply MUST be read in order because in many ways each story is a continuation of the other -- and there are loads of twists and turns. In fact, before I listened to this one I took the time to listen again to the first two and I'm glad that I did.

I don't think that it's an exaggeration to say that this is another masterpiece from Sherry Thomas. I can't wait until the next one!
Profile Image for Sam (AMNReader).
1,259 reviews274 followers
April 5, 2020
This is a 4 but a weird 4. I'm not even sure it's a 4.

Can I explain? Probably not much. I liked this, but I didn'treally like or love it and I'm trying to understand why exactly.

And I guess it comes down to being weirdly plot-driven (which is why I end up giving up on the majority of series that feature the same protagonists) and in this one the threads didn't quite work for me. Frankly, I didn't exactly guess the mystery, but I wasn't confounded either. I missed the depth of character development & relationship development that was pieced together masterfully in the first 2. I don't know what to make of it, and I'm reducing my rating bc I'm finding I'm ultimately irritated upon more reflection. I just can't exactly articulate why.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,735 reviews938 followers
July 7, 2020
Not too much to say except I loved this mystery. We have Charlotte Sherlock and Mrs. Watson coming in to investigate when Lord Ingram is accused of the murder of his estranged wife. I thought this was cleverly done except for the whole "we must have sex thing" which is why I gave this 4 stars. I though that whole sub-plot for the bigger plot was very much a head scratcher moment. Just have two characters have sex and be done with it.

"The Hollow of Fear" is the third book in the Lady Sherlock series. Charlotte is getting ever close to Moriarty and getting enough funds to move her sisters out of the clutches of their parents. Livia is missing her sister and becoming afraid that something will end up happening to her and her still left reeling after developing some feelings for a man who has some connection to Moriarty. When Livia is asked to visit a long-time friend, she goes, but quickly realizes something is off. Two of the most gossipy women seem to be following her and wanting to know where her sister is. And when the party decamps to Lord Ingram's home, there seems to be something dangerous happening. When a woman's body is found in Lord Ingram's ice house, many quickly realize it is his estranged wife. And the only one who had a motive to kill her, was Lord Ingram. Livia writes to Charlotte to help and Charlotte in disguise (probably my favorite part) comes to solve the mystery.

The characters in this one needed more development I have to say. We got a lot of explanations in the end, but I would have liked more dialogue between Charlotte and Lord Ingram. Also between Charlotte and Livia. Heck Charlotte and anyone.

The book shifts between Charlotte, Mrs. Watson, Ingram, Livia, and Inspector Treadles of the Metropolitan Police. Treadles is still being an ass about his wife and her change in fortune. I swear this character is actually quite annoying. A few times he is put in his place and I was glad for it. But honestly I don't see much point in keeping him in the series after the events of this book.

I have to say that this book was much easier to follow than the last one. The mystery made sense and I do have to say that I started to put some things together, but didn't get the ultimate twist in the whole thing.

The book ends on a definitive note I thought. To me this would have made a very good stopping place. It's so weird to know that two more books in this series are coming. One has been issued, and the 5th one will be issued this fall.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,035 reviews646 followers
June 12, 2019
For those considering the story/series I recommend reading or listening in the order of their release. While each holds its own case to be solved, the overall arcs and character development scream to be read in order.

In The Hollow of Fear, Charlotte must investigate her toughest case thus far. Lord Ingram is suspected of murdering Lady Ingram when she is found dead in the ice building of their estate. The mystery that unfolded was so clever that even I was astounded when all was revealed.
We meet a new character, Sherringford Holmes, supposed brother of the ailing Sherlock Holmes and suspiciously shaped like Charlotte Holmes. *winks* I loved  every moment.
We spend quite a bit of time with Lord Ingram, a favorite character of mine since the beginning of this series. He really has gotten him into quite the mess, and all evidence supports he is involved. It was exciting seeing Charlotte work to solve the mystery and of course clear the devilishly handsome Lord Ingram.
Secondary characters like Mrs. Watson and Charlotte's sister Livia added interesting side-threads. I loved that we got to know Livia more.
We see movement in the slow-burning romance, and I loved every moment of it. The way Charlotte's mind works combined with her forward, logical thinking adding some humor in addition to tender, romantic encounters.
As a parent of a child with Asperger's I feel comfortable around Charlotte and while some find her thinking unconventional or shocking I can only nod my head.

The Hollow of Fear was my favorite listen to date, Kate Reading narrates the series and beautifully captures Charlotte many sides. I could not imagine listening to the series without her. Each character has a distinct voice and she enhances the tone, mystery and pacing of this brilliant story. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Desi.
524 reviews93 followers
July 24, 2020
Can’t say much without spoiling the plot but this was the best of the trio. Maybe the country setting lent itself to a tighter plot.

I liked that the ending did not take the easy way out, as regards the presence of a certain cumbersome to the overarching plot individual, although I’m still not sure I believe the eventual villain would have acted so out of character vs the way they were previously portrayed.

For the couple shippers, there was finally some movement on that front, and they are pretty cute together.

Note on reading methods I think the audio book added massively to my enjoyment of this one. This style of story does well when read aloud.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,653 reviews1,688 followers
December 4, 2022
This series is so fun. I think this is my favorite one so far, because it did two things.

First, the plot hinges on Charlotte/Sherlock saving her dear friend and would-be paramour Lord Ingram from murder charges when his wife turns up dead on his estate in a gruesome fashion. And second, we finally get to see Charlotte in action at crime scenes and investigating herself. She does this by inventing another Holmes brother and dressing up as a man, saying she is both there to emotionally support Lord Ingram and to help her brother Sherlock (all three being her) solve the murder. Oh, and it also takes place during a house party! Sort of. Lord Ingram is hosting guests from a nearby manor after a utility failure of some sort (I forget, I read this in September).  

It was incredibly entertaining to see Charlotte acting as a man, the way the various characters reacted to her (knowing it was her or not), and the mystery was clever and twisty while having good emotional stakes (because it was tied to our feelings about Lord Ingram and his dead wife who hated him). 

The thing that is still keeping me from giving any book in this series five stars is all the elaborate and sort of confusing stuff with Moriarty. Every time that plotline is brought in, my head starts swimming. Even while I'm reading it's confusing, and you couldn't pay me to explain it to anyone this far from reading the book. 

Currently trying to fit book four into my 2023 TBR, although it is nice to read these a couple of months apart because they're like little treats for my brain.
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews996 followers
January 7, 2020
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

This series. My feelings for it are fierce and tangled, much like the ties that bind its protagonists. Charlotte, Lord Ingram, Livia, Inspector Treadles, Bancroft, Lady Ingram . . . characterize them each how you will, but there is nothing equivocal about them. While there is infinite room for every sort of gray area in their circumstances, their histories, and their difficult presents, the feelings that they engender (at least in me) are nothing if not strong one way or the other. And really, I wouldn't have it any other way. Who wants to feel the least bit milk-soppy about the people who inhabit their wonderfully complicated Victorian mysteries? Not me. That is who. Which is to say that I was prepared for a tumult of emotions as I embarked on this the third volume in Sherry Thomas's Lady Sherlock series. Just, as it turns out, nowhere near prepared enough.

Be warned: unavoidable spoilers for the first two books abound.

Death has finally found its way to Lord Ingram's door. Though it may have seemed to him and to those who know him best that he was already bearing one man's fair share of suffering in his life, the term takes on new meaning when the body of his estranged wife is found on the grounds of his country estate. He is already playing impromptu host to a number of his neighbors who were forced to flee their house party nearby, and the group just happens to include Charlotte Holmes's sister, Miss Livia Holmes. All hell breaks loose in a matter of a few short hours, and both the London gossips and Scotland Yard are calling for his blood in short order. And Charlotte, the only person who can really help him, the only person he actually wants at his side throughout this ghoulish ordeal, is forced to do so in disguise. Unable to disclose her identity for fear of betraying her oldest friend, Charlotte enters a race against time and the mysteriously related Moriarty to clear Lord Ingram's name and uncover the true culprit.
"Charlotte Holmes. I thought I might see you here."

The voice belonged to Lord Ingram, but slightly raspy, as if he were under the weather―or recovering from a night of hard drinking.

She turned around slowly. "Hullo, Ash."

A complicated pleasure, this man.

A complicated pleasure, this book. I knew it would be far more personal than either of the previous adventures. But I had no real comprehension of just how grave this tale would be, when the danger comes calling at the very door of the one character who deserves it the least. Because it's Ash. It's Ash. And from the moment Charlotte turns in his orchard and says, "Hullo," I was full of fear. I mean, I was flooded with anxiety for all three hundred and twenty-nine pages. Every last one of them. And so while I might have reasonably expected to enjoy the larger quantities of page time in which these two dear characters are actually together, the whole thing was neatly sideswiped by the terror of the unknown and of what they both actually stood to lose. Being somewhat conversant with Ms. Thomas's willingness to put her characters through their paces, as it were, I felt no sense of assurance that the pain would not be too much to bear. In point of fact, every single thing about The Hollow of Fear felt very nearly too much to bear. And while that may sound dire, and it is, this book is also threaded through with small and perfect moments, with Thomas's trademark empathy and insight. As always with this series, many of my favorite moments involve the realities of the lives of women and the truths that are so difficult to speak.
Lady Ingram hadn't been angry because she'd wished to marry a different man, as Mrs. Watson had thought at the time, but because her life hadn't been her own.

Charlotte did not pity Lady Ingram―the woman played no small role in her own fate. But she sometimes thought of the former Miss Alexandra Greville, brought to London and told to smile, told to be happy that an eligible man loved her, told that upon marriage she would have everything a woman could desire.

When it should have been obvious to all who knew her that such a life would unravel her. Yet they'd pushed it on her with all their might―and made it plain that for her to do anything else would be a gross betrayal of her family.

Perhaps she had always been a monster, but even the lady monsters of the world couldn't escape the expectations that came of being women.

My, what empathy. Even the lady monsters. My Circe-loving heart all but exploded at that particular moment. And then this between Lord Ingram and Charlotte:
"Is it true, what I once heard your sister say, that you don't like to be embraced?"

She took some time to think. "Sometimes Livia needs to hold someone, and I'm the only suitable person nearby. When I was little, I used to wriggle out of her arms and escape to a corner of our room. But it wasn't so much that I couldn't stand being held as that I didn't want to be held indefinitely. Later I taught myself to count to three hundred to mark five minutes―which helped me to realize that she needed only about half that time. I can take two to three minutes of being held. But Livia remains hesitant to this day―she's still scarred by my bolting away from her embrace."

He would be, too.

In fact, sometimes he felt scarred by her, even though she had never done anything except be an excellent friend.

Ah, Ash. It's untenable, the whole situation. But I shall continue to hope. And while I was pleased with how things played out on nearly every level, there was a part of me that felt a twinge of disappointment at how one aspect of their relationship developed. As I reflect on it, my reaction may be simply that it felt somewhat abrupt, that I would have appreciated a more measured progression, given how restrained and private these two individuals are. I value those two qualities in them so very much, not the least because I know I recognize them in myself. That was my one qualm. But honestly, the writing. It continues to slay me. The complexity of emotion redolent in every word is a joy to read. Sherry Thomas absolutely nails it, and I am nothing if not dying for the next book. A final favorite passage:
She wasn't sure that she wanted to understand the full spectrum of human emotions―everything that remained seemed dire to one degree or another. But this warm, silly mutual delight, this she wouldn't mind experiencing until she comprehended its place in the world.
Profile Image for Monnie.
1,401 reviews762 followers
October 21, 2018
What a clever, thoroughly delightful book!

At the outset, though, I wasn't so enthusiastic; set in Victorian England, with language and customs to match, I realized I wouldn't be able to breeze through this one as I'm accustomed to doing with other mysteries and thrillers. But a couple of chapters into it, I realized I didn't want to.

This is, for the record, the third in the author's "Lady Sherlock" series (and the first, but definitely not the last, for me). The star of the show, Charlotte Holmes, is a consulting detective in Sherlock Holmes fashion - operating a business at 18 Baker Street - with a Mrs. Watson as a helper when needed. Lacking the standard social graces of the times, she and her sister, Olivia, are estranged from the parents they "disgraced" and on their own (a third sister, Bernadine, is disabled and still lives at home but plays a role in this story as well). The Sherlock nemesis, Moriarty, gets frequent mention as an archenemy.

When a home construction disaster forces participants at a party there (Charlotte included) to relocate to the mansion of her friend and love interest, the handsome Lord Ingram, things don't quite go as planned. Early on, a young servant who's sent to fetch ice from the ice house makes a gruesome discovery: The body of Ingram's estranged wife, who's been missing for a time but thought to have run away of her own accord. Scotland Yard comes running, and the subsequent investigation points to Lord Ingram as the perpetrator. Charlotte, of course, is certain that he's innocent and, mostly disguised as "Sherrinford" Holmes, Sherlock's brother, puts her powers of deduction to work to unearth the real killer (even as she loses her usual "power" to chow down, especially sweets).

Along the way, there are too many twists, turns and sleights of hand and mind to mention, and everything is resolved in the end including Charlotte's appetite (well, almost everything; this is, after all, a series). Thus, I'm already yearning to read the next installment. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this one and introduce me to a wonderful series.
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