Book It for Friday Book Review: Good Night, Mr. Holmes

Always on the lookout for anything Holmes, my eyes went right to a feature article in the current issue of Mystery Scene Magazine entitled “Why Can’t TV Get Irene Adler Right?” Writer Carole Nelson Douglas wrote about TVs attempt to capture the true essence of “the woman,” the only female in Arthur Conan Doyle’s entire Holmes’ canon to outsmart the Great Detective. In reading the article, I was reminded of Douglas’ debut novel, Good Night, Mr. Holmes, a book I’d always meant to read.
         In my quest to find new mystery series to add to my list, I ordered the book. What a wonderful surprise! I’ve read many Holmes parodies and I found Douglas’ writing style as authentic as one can get to ACD’s. Holmes plays a small role in the story, which was fine because I was quickly hooked into Irene’s version of events leading to “A Scandal in Bohemia.”
         As the story begins, we are introduced to Penelope Huxleigh, a young parson’s daughter who finds herself on the street, having just lost her position as a governess. She is rescued from having her only possession, a carpetbag, snatched by a “street Arab.” Her savior is Irene Adler, who despite her flamboyant attire and wad of cash in her reticule, is near penniless herself. Irene takes Penelope (Nell) home and the two women, much to Nell’s chagrin, join forces against the world. Irene pursues her operatic career, working as an agent of inquiry on the side, and Nell takes typewriting assignments to help ends meet. Soon Irene is the prima donna of the Imperial Opera of Warsaw where she becomes romantically involved with the future King of Bohemia. From here we learn Irene’s version of this sordid love affair, which Holmes, although he never guesses, only had partially right. When Nell receives an urgent message from Irene pleading for her to “—come at once to Prague,” the story takes off at breakneck speed and doesn’t stop until she, her new husband Godfrey Norton, and Nell are safely in Paris. Irene concludes the caper with a toast. “Good Night, Mr. Sherlock Holmes—wherever you are.” 
          The book was published in 1990, and I was delighted to learn that Irene Adler Norton and Nell Huxleigh return in seven more Irene Adler mysteries. Carole Nelson Douglas is the author of sixty novels, including mainstream, mystery, thriller, high fantasy, science fiction, and romance/women's fiction. She has been nominated for or won more than fifty writing awards. Good Night, Mr. Holmes was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
For more information on Douglas and her books, go to her website:

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