After an absence of too many years, Carole Nelson Douglas brings us a new Irene Adler story, and it is a triumph. Irene is in Paris when she receives a strange request from the police. Several young women have been brutally slain and Irenes assistance is needed, ostensibly as a translator. When Irene views the bodies and interviews potential witnesses, shes doubly horrified. Not only are the murders gruesome, they bear a strong resemblance to the recent Ripper killings in Londons Whitechapel.

Irenes presence has been requested by a person of power who wishes to remain anonymous. It is not apparent whether Irenes presence is sincerely requested, or if someone has a more sinister reason for involving her with the crime.

Irene, ever intrepid and daring, takes an active role in the investigation. As the search for the killer widens and a terrible truth begins to emerge, Irenethe only woman to have ever outwitted Sherlock Holmesfinds that this battle of wits is a battle for her life.

Whether youre a Sherlockian, a Ripper fanatic, a historical fan, or just someone who loves a great story, you wont want to miss CHAPEL NOIR. Lyrical in its prose, this is an entertainment feast that leaves you wanting moreso look for the upcoming Castle Rouge! (Oct., 480 pp., $25.95) Hardcover published October 2001.

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg