Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Late Victorian Era - England

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

The Adventuress

by Carole Nelson Douglas

For her heroine, Douglas has taken intriguing Irene Adler, a female from the Sherlock Holmes story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and made her her own. This lively chase of a story was originally titled “Good Morning, Irene,” and is the second of eight in Douglas’ Irene Adler series.

In “Adventuress,” Irene, a prominent opera singer and amateur sleuth recently married to London barrister Godfrey Norton, is hiding out in Paris and Monte Carlo. She’s on the run from the King of Bohemia because of her ownership of a potentially compromising photo. She also has eluded Sherlock Holmes, who is trying to retrieve the photo. When the body of a tattooed sailor surfaces from the waters of the Seine, Irene, and eventually Holmes, sets off on a marry chase to solve the curious puzzle involving his death.

Irene is a rule breaker who surrounds herself with other real life non-conventional types. In “Adventuress” they are her friend Sarah Berhardt and the detective writer Bram Stoker( Dracula). Offering the more traditional view of proper Victorian female behavior is her Watson-like sidekick, Nell Huxleigh. Nell, belonging to the more conventional lower class, most often is dismayed by Irene’s audacious actions. Irene’s husband, on the other hand, seems equal to his wife’s free spirit, and the two match Holmes in their rapid-fire character changing disguises.

Some readers may find Irene’s exploits over the top for a 19th century woman. But they certainly are fun! In the back, find an interview with Douglas, notes about the series.

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