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    CHAPEL NOIR by Carole Nelson Douglas


    Forge, October 2001

    Irene Adler and her sidekick Nell Huxleigh are visiting Paris when Irene is called to Paris. Two young prostitutes have been murdered and the deaths risk implicating the Prince of Wales and the Baron Rothchild--worse, the method of murder is highly reminiscent of the recent Jack the Ripper killings in London. Irene feels compelled to investigate using a combination of Holmes-like deduction and female intuition. What she finds is evidence that Jake the Ripper was not a solitary madman, but something more, something with purpose, and that Jack the Ripper certainly did not kill himself in London but survived to terrorize France.

    Sometimes working in conjunction with, and sometimes in partnership with the vain Sherlock Holmes himself, Irene and Nell, along with Irene's adopted second sidekick Pink, adopt any manner of disguises to discover the truth about the Ripper, including whether Holmes himself might have been the crazed killer. Huxleigh, the primary narrative voice, adopts a generally amusing air of condescension, conformance to society's (Victorian) rules, and British superiority while Adler represents the rule-breaking genius.

    Author Carole Nelson Douglas blends a nice mixture of female fashion, rules of convention, and exciting action in CHAPEL NOIR. The rivalry between Adler and Holmes is true to the original description of Adler in A SCANDEL IN BOHEMIA, with Douglas adding a female slant to the distinctly male-dominated Holmes legend. Douglas had left this historical-era character for several years, but has now returned (see also reviews of other mysteries by Carole Nelson Douglas).

    Be warned, at the end of nearly 500 pages, CHAPEL NOIR readers are left with a cliffhanger. This story will be concluded in a sequel.

    Three Stars

    Purchase CHAPEL NOIR from (hardback).