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I’ve always been a big fan of Sherlock Holmes: his agile mind, razor-sharp whit, cunning deduction, and his ability to ascertain the facts from the most miniscule evidence, all the while accompanied by his kind-hearted, bumbling friend and chronicler, Dr. Watson. I’ve enjoyed all the different versions of Sherlock Holmes, from the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Robert Downy Jr.’s movie portrayals, to the BBC Masterpiece Theater series, to the BBC version, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (sorry, he beats out Johnny Lee Miller in Elementary, although I really like Watson as a woman.) The movie Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) portrays Holmes and Watson getting into trouble at boarding school and is highly entertaining. Laurie R. King continued the story of Holmes in her Mary Russell suspense novels. I loved the character of Mary Russell so much, a woman with a keen mind who becomes Sherlock’s apprentice, partner, and eventually wife. (First in the series is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice). When our family vacationed to England, I was thrilled to take the bus to 22B Baker Street in London and see the Sherlock Holmes Museum. A stuffed bear with tweed cape, cap, and pipe joined my collection of other bears. This morning, I finished yet another Sherlock Holmes book: Good Night, Mr. Holmes, by Carole Nelson Douglas. Her book is based on Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia”. Holmes and Watson do have their chapters, but the main character is Irene Adler, the one woman Sherlock Holmes admired because she outwitted him. The story is told from the point of view of Irene Adler’s friend, Miss Penelope (Nell) Huxleigh, who becomes Irene’s dear friend and confidant. I admired Irene Adler’s intelligence, humor, and the zest with which she attacks everything in her life, from singing opera to solving mysteries to falling in love. Much to her alarm, the traditional, prim, but loyal Nell aids Irene in her escapades and ends up recording her story. I truly enjoyed this book. It was brilliantly written! We need more stories about intelligent women. Hats off to Carole Nelson Douglas. I look forward to reading more about Irene in her other books.

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