Douglas takes readers on a mysterious journey to the late 19th century, as opera singer Irene Adler Norton and her companion, Nell Huxleigh, journey from London to New York to uncover the identity of Irene's mother.

With the help of Sherlock Holmes, Irene—the only woman ever to have outwitted Holmes—soon believes her mother was Elizabeth Gilbert, who is buried in a nearby cemetery. Further investigation reveals that Elizabeth was also Lola Montez, a diva of the stage who was once the consort of royalty.

Beyond the mystery surrounding Lola, Holmes must discover the identity of a man found murdered at the home of the socially prominent Vanderbilts. While he discreetly investigates this bizarre murder, Nellie Bly, the quintessential female journalist, and British agent Quentin Stanhope involve themselves in both the Holmes case and Irene's investigation.

Douglas expertly places readers in her time period with this intricate and well-researched novel. There is never a dull moment. (Dec. '04, 384 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick