Charlotte Holmes's life is in peril when her brilliant deductive skills are put to the test in her most dangerous investigation yet, locked aboard a ship at sea.
After feigning her own death in Cornwall to escape from Moriarty’s perilous attention, Charlotte Holmes goes into hiding. But then she receives a tempting offer: Find a dossier the crown is desperately seeking, and she might be able to go back to a normal life.
Her search leads her aboard the RMS Provence. But on the night Charlotte makes her move to retrieve the dossier, in the midst of a terrifying storm in the Bay of Biscay, a brutal murder takes place on the ship.
Instead of solving the crime, as she is accustomed to doing, Charlotte must take care not to be embroiled in this investigation, lest it become known to those who harbor ill intentions that Sherlock Holmes is abroad and still very much alive.
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.