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The Mystery of the Scarlet Rose: 06/17/16

The Mystery of the Scarlet Rose by Irene Adler

The Mystery of the Scarlet Rose by Irene Adler (pseudonym of Alesandro Gatti) is the third book in the Sherlock, Lupin & Io series. Originally published in Italian as Il mistero della Rosa Scarletta, it chronicles the third case young Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, and Irene Adler solve together.

It's hard to write that with a straight face. Not because I'm scoffing, rather because I'm grinning. Sherlock Holmes and Irene Alder were created by Arthur Conan Doyle and while they had an in canon relationship, she's mostly just referred to as "the woman" and she's barely a character, more of a footnote. Yet Doyle's characters have taken on lives of their own in numerous adaptations and new novels by all manners of writer. Though Watson is mostly credited with writing down Sherlock's adventures, other companions have done so to, such as Mary Russell (Laurie R. King), so why not Irene Adler?

Then there's Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief, created by Maurice Leblanc in 1907. He's inspired his own stories and the very long running Lupin III anime in Japan. I adore the many different versions of Lupin III, though my favorite is the one from the 1970s.

My point is, here's a new bit of fan fiction, a love story if you will, to two different series from the earliest days of the pulp novel. It's just one of those happy mashups that you just have to run with.

Someone is murdering wealthy merchants in the posh neighborhoods of London. Meanwhile, someone else is posted a strange looking chess puzzles in the newspaper. The three friends quickly realize that the puzzles and the crimes are related. They decide to set out and find the murderer before he or she can strike again.

I read book three for the CYBILs and have since gone back and read the first two. The puzzles are fun and on a par with what are in the original stories. I think this series will appeal both to readers new to the characters and to long time fans.

Five stars

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