Review: A study in silks by Emma Jane Holloway


  • Random House Publishing Group – Del Rey Spectra
  • 24th September 2013
  • ISBN 9780345537188
  • $7.99
  • EditionMass Market Paperback

I recently had the pleasure of reading an uncorrected proof copy of this, the first title in Emma Jane Holloway’s trilogy ‘The Baskerville Affair’. The next part, ‘A study in darkness’ will be published later this month and the final part ‘A study in ashes’ will be published in December. I have already started reading the second book and have requested the third.

But what are these novels about?

As the title suggests, these are a riff on the Sherlock Holmes canon (for my friends in the fandom it’s an AU fanfic). Set in an alternative Steampunk Victorian England ruled by ‘Steam Barons’ who control the power supply and ruthlessly suppress competition using any and all means possible. Eveline Cooper, the orphaned daughter of Sherlock Holmes’s disgraced younger sister and the army captain she eloped with, is making her entrance into Society with her dearest friend Imogen Roth, daughter of Lord Bancroft, former Ambassador to Vienna.

When a pregnant maid is found dead, and then two of the Roth grooms, Eveline feels the need to investigate. Who murdered the servants, where had the chests the grooms were transporting disappeared to and what exactly is Lord Bancroft up to? Eveline is desperate to preserve her friend from ruin. An intelligent young lady with a desire for education and fascination for clockwork mechanisms – as well as a touch of magic that will get her killed of anyone ever finds out – Eveline sets about her self-appointed task while still trying to fit in. When her oldest friend Nick, a circus performer and her first love, comes back in to her life her task becomes so much more difficult. And who, or more precisely what, is Dr Magnus, and why is everyone so desperate to get their hands on an ancient artifact from Troy?

A really enjoyable novel. The characters are interestingly individual and the convoluted plot is engaging.

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