Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
Series: Irene Adler
Genre: Mystery, pastiche, cozy
Pages: 408 (So, the author took a short story and made it more than 400 pages long - I think you have to admire that.)
Copyright Date: 1990
Cover: Gray, with a decorated font of the title and author. A small picture shows a man draping a necklace across the shoulders of a woman in a gown.
First line: "By night, when gaslights glitter through the fog and cobblestones gleam like bootblack, London seems a landscape glimpsed in some Arabian Nights tale." (I took this from the first line of the first chapter, skipping the Prologue. Sometimes I do that.)
Best part: The author stays true to the canon, just expands on it.
Worst part: The narrator is a little bland.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Songs My Mother Taught Me" by Dvorak
Recommended for: Fans of Sherlock Holmes who wish there were stronger women in his stories.
Related Reads: Collected Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King, Declare by Tim Powers
So, first let me explain to you how this book is anything at all like a Cold War spy novel with magic (Declare by Tim Powers). Powers wrote about this book that he tried hard to stay faithful to the facts that are available about the life of Kim Philby, who was a historical double agent. The constraints he chose to stay within were that he couldn't change anything about the biographical information, or ignore anything - the story he came up with could only add details and had to make sense with the biography. This transformation is the same style that Douglas uses. She doesn't change a word of the short story "Scandal in Bohemia" but she fills in a backstory, from the point of view of the singer Irene Adler and her friend Nell Huxleigh, that show that story in a completely different light.
This book was really fun, and would be good on a plane. The plot moves along, and it doesn't get precious, but it does fall into the cozy category - there is little violence on the page and no explicit sexuality. C+.