The Art of Theft
Lady Sherlock, Book #4
By Sherry Thomas
Author Website: sherrythomas(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.
But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.
Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia’s admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake. (Goodreads)
The Art of Theft, the fourth smart entry in the superb Lady Sherlock Mystery Series, is a full on swashbuckling art heist tale featuring all of the characters readers have grown to love and plenty of intrigue and danger. Mrs. Watson’s old friend is being blackmailed and implores Charlotte to retrieve damning evidence hidden within a Van Dyck painting before it falls into the wrong hands. Time is of the essence, and, of course, all is not as it seems, but it requires everyone working together to pull the whole thing off.
Charlotte is as clever and Lord Ingram as restrained as ever in this adventure. After the events of the previous book, The Hollow of Fear, I should know better than to hope that this pair would progress smoothly. But, alas, things are ever complicated with these two, and they appear to have taken several steps back. However, their chemistry is still deliciously palpable. It is wonderful to see the prickly, eccentric Charlotte accept and acknowledge help from her friends and to see other, already well drawn, characters continue to grow and become more involved in Charlotte’s escapades. The introduction of the Maharani brings a bit of diversity and another perspective to this wonderful series.
The Art of Theft is a bit of a departure from the prior books in the series. Author Thomas moves the action from London to France. The art heist theme is not as enthralling as previous books, but it is still highly entertaining. Though the book is ultimately about the complicated relationships between the characters and the constraints put on women during the Victorian Era, this outing feels more about the action, and I find it slightly restricting.
I continue to adore this gender bending take on the larger-than-life Sherlock Holmes. Thomas’s writing remains brilliant and true to the era, this tale overflowing with a never ending litany of twists and turns. I impatiently wait for Charlotte and company’s next adventure. I do suggest reading this series in order as each book builds on the last with a series long story arc. Highly, highly recommended!