The Irene Adler Series, featuring the only woman to outwit Sherlock Holmes
The Adler series gets a bow in Elle‘s January 2010 issue rave review of the new Sherlock Holmes film!http://www.elle.com/Pop-Culture/Movies-TV-Music-Books/Sherlock-Holmes
Robert Downey Jr. debuted as the master detective in Sherlock Holmes, a 2009 movie that start a film franchise, with Rachel McAdams playing the American opera singer Irene Adler. Prolong the fun by reading Carole Nelson Douglas’ eight acclaimed Irene Adler suspense novels, the first to reinvent a woman from the Holmes “Canon” as a protagonist. Good Night, Mr. Holmes is a new trade paperback edition of the series’ groundbreaking start and New York Times Notable Book of the year. In Douglas’ genre-crossing tradition, the novel also won American Mystery and Romantic Times magazine awards.
“And fun it is…when Carole Nelson Douglas purports to tell…how Irene Adler outfoxed Sherlock Holmes…this enchanting paragon comports herself beautifully on her adventures…To do justice to this remarkable heroine and her keen perspective…, the author adopts a saucy style and a delicious sense of humor…irresistible appeal.”—The New York Times
From Good Night, Mr. Holmes:
“Winning is nothing unless the opponent is worthy.” – Irene Adler
“Truth is like a diamond, Mr. Tiffany. It must have the proper clarity, color, and weight to be worth anything – and must be searched for everywhere.” – Sherlock Holmes
“Your present state of mortality will suffer, Monsieur, if you continue to libel ladies in public in this fashion, especially since one of them is my wife.” – Godfrey Norton
“How unfair it is that enterprise is called a harlot when it wears a female face.”–Sherlock Holmes
(Note: books 2-4 were renamed when they were reissued in the early 2000s)
“Setting herself the task of creating a heroine worthy of Sherlock Holmes, Douglas…succeeds smashingly. In providing an inventive, believable past for Irene Adler, the one woman (and an American at that) who ever duped Holmes, Douglas writes in a voice that resonates of Dr. Watson’s (or Conan Doyle’s) when appropriate, and links Adler’s adventures with information offered about her in Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Narrated with credible Victorian style and sensibility by Penelope “Nell” Huxleigh, a parson’s daughter, this lively caper establishes Adler’s sleuthing skills as she solves cases that involve Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker . . . The novel has more going for it than the usual Holmesian pastiche, presenting a truly original perspective of the one whom the great detective himself dubbed “the woman.” She’s a superior woman at that; readers will doff their deerstalkers.”—Publishers Weekly
Miss Irene Adler, the beautiful American opera singer who once outwitted Sherlock Homes (“to Holmes, she was always the woman”), is here given an unexpected talent: she is a superb detective. Whether intervening on behalf of Oscar Wilde in a delicate mission of the heart, or maneuvering at Bram Stoker’s tea party, Irene’s brilliant reasoning powers rarely fail. Only her search for Marie Antoinette’s long-lost Zone of Diamonds seems stymied; her investigation of a royal murder in the Kingdom of Bohemia ends with the apprehension of the villain.
From her early career struggles to her magnificent debut on the Italian stage wearing jewels lent to her by Mr. Tiffany, and her meeting with the smitten composer Anton Dvorak, the diva-detective climbs from anonymity to well-deserved fame.
The Crown Prince of Bohemia, tall, blond, handsome, wealthy, and royal, seems everything Irene could hope for–until a callow betrayal. Her heart aching–though her head is unbowed–Irene is in no mood for romance when she again encounters dashing English barrister Godfrey Norton, with whom she had clashed years before. But Godfrey’s past holds a surprising secret, and Irene soon discovers that she is not immune to love, even as she is forced into a duel of wits with the great Sherlock Holmes himself.
Note: The blue cover shown on online bookselling sites is obsolete. The cover above is correct.
The deaths of beautiful Irene Adler and her bridegroom, handsome barrister Godfrey Norton, have been widely reported in the English and European press. But the American opera singer who once outwitted Holmes, disappearing with her photograph of the King of Bohemia, is alive and well in Paris, and lapping up her obituaries with unconcealed glee. Nevertheless, although her “death” has ended the royal Bohemian’s unwelcome attentions, it is a serious inconvenience; she cannot perform on the operatic stage.
Irene Adler is not a woman for whom idleness holds the slightest appeal. Thus the appearance of Sarah Bernhardt as a new friend is extremely welcome; but the unexpected emergence of a drowned sailor’s body from teh Seine is even more so.
On the sailor’s chest is a tattoo–a tattoo reminiscent of one Irene saw years ago in London, on another sailor’s chest, while the corpse lay upon Bram Stoker’s dining room table . . .
She had been unable to decipher the mysterious circumstances of the London death. Now, with a second corpse to consider, she seems to see a pattern. Then a young woman is abducted, and–against her will–tattooed!
The inimitable detecting skills of Irene Adler will be sorely tested by the Machiavellian complexities at hand. Godfrey Norton’s unexpected gifts of disguise will be needed, as will the dogged intelligence of Miss Penelope Huxleigh, Irene’s faithful chronicler. A large and varied cast-among them the divine Sarah, a green serpent, the first beautiful, blond American Princess of Monaco, a young American journalist, an all-too-attentive Viscount, and Sherlock Holmes himself–will play their roles before Irene unravels the dreadful mystery that confronts her.
Alive and well despite the widely published accounts of her death, the irresistible Irene Adler and her husband, dashing barrister Godfrey Norton, are taking coffee with their friend Nell Huxleigh in a Parisian sidewalk cafe when a stranger dressed in Oriental garb falls at their feet. Surprisingly, it is not Irene’s beauty that has felled him, but a does of poison–and even more surprisingly, the friends learn as he recovers that he is an Englishman!
After nine years in Afghanistan, following the disastrous battle of Maiwand, Quentin is on his way to London to find a Dr. Watson who tended his battle wounds, a Dr. Watson whose life may well be in danger. Nell’s heart is quickly lost to Quentin, but after a shot through a window, Quentin vanishes. Irene vows to find him, for Nell should not be loved and left. Their search takes them first to a Parisian garret, inhabited only by a dead Lascar and . . . an indecently large cobra! Although Irene dispatches the scaly miscreant handily with her revolver, the game is indeed aslither. The sinuous chase leads through a command performance for the Empress of All the Russias and two visits to Sarah Bernhardt, into a channel steamer and under the desk of Dr. John H. Watson, loops into 221 B Baker Street, and uncoils deadly secrets both past and present.
The ever irresistible Irene Adler, her dashing barrister husband Godfrey Norton and the indomitable Miss Nell Huxleigh have arrived at last at their French cottage–having survived (but just barely) the dastardly plots, Russian spies, pistol-wielding criminals . . . and the occasional cobra. Our happy trio seek nothing but rest and peace.
But Irene has always chafed under idle conditions, and Paris, she says, “is pretty and urbane, but hardly a center of excitement.” So when Charles Frederick Worth, the Parisian King of Couture invites Irene to become his “mannequin de ville,” to wear the fabulous Worth creations to stimulate his trade, Irene leaps at the chance.
But what was a joyous lark soon turns into a journey that can lead to disgrace, dishonor. . . and death.
For Irene, Nell and Godfrey are drawn into a series of events that will compel Irene to the one place that she daren’t go–and to the one man she must not confront.
To Prague and the King of Bohemia.
Before Caleb Carr and Laurie R. King, Carole Nelson Douglas gave readers a compelling look into Victoriana with a bold new detective character: Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have “outwitted” Sherlock Holmes. An operatic diva and intellectual equal (and some would say superior) to most of the men she encounters, Irene is as much at home with disguises and a revolver as with high society and haute couture.
Chapel Noir thrusts readers into one of the darkest periods of criminal fact and fiction when two courtesans are found brutally slaughtered in the lavish boudoir of a Paris house that dare not speak its name. No woman should ever see such horrors, authorities declare, but a powerful sponsor has insisted that Irene investigate the case, along with her faithful companion, sheltered parson’s daughter Penelope Huxleigh. Yet does anyone really seek the truth, or do they wish only to bury it with the dead women?
For there is a worse horror that will draw Irene and her arch rival, Sherlock Holmes, into a duel of wits with a fiendish opponent: These Paris killings mimic a series of gruesome murders that terrorized London only months before. In a dangerous and disreputable part of town known as Whitechapel . . .
Carole Nelson Douglas gives readers a delightful look into Victoriana with Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have outwitted Sherlock Holmes, in “A Scandal in Bohemia.” A charismatic performer and the intellectual equal to the men she encounters, Irene Adler is as much at home with a spyglass and revolver as with haute couture and gala balls.
She has thwarted plots against nations, spurned a monarch, and lived to reap a sweet revenge. Now Irene is on the hunt for one of the true monsters of all time–Jack the Ripper. It was she who led the search, with a most unlikely group of allies, through the catacombs of 1889 Paris, to capture the suspect at a horrific secret-cult ceremony held beneath the city. But disaster has scattered those allies and the Ripper has again escaped. Sherlock Holmes has returned to London, and Watson, to reinvestigate the Whitechapel murders of the previous fall from an entirely new angle.
Irene fears the Ripper will strike again and is eager to hunt this monster down. But terror has struck a little too close to home, for her own nearest and dearest are mysteriously missing–her companion/biographer, Nell Huxleigh, abducted in Paris, and her barrister husband, Godfrey Norton, vanished in the wilds of Bohemia. Where should Irene search first?
Though Irene has many highly placed friends, the Baron de Rothschild, Sarah Bernhardt, and the Prince of Wales can offer only money and goodwill.
Irene must rely on an unreliable cohort: the American prostitute named Pink, who has proven to be someone with her own agenda, and Bram Stoker, the theatrical manager who will later pen Dracula. The trail will lead back to Bohemia, and on to new and bloodier atrocities, before pursuers and prey reunite at a remote castle in Transylvania, where the Ripper is cornered and fully unveiled, at last to answer the question the world is asking: Who is Jack the Ripper?
Irene Adler is the only woman ever to have outwitted Sherlock Holmes. . . and the one who has come closest to stealing his heart. She has competed (and sometimes cooperated) with the famous fictional detective over six popular and acclaimed novels, featuring her daring investigations across the Continent. All along, the beautiful and brilliant American diva-turned-detective has managed to conceal her background and history, even from her dashing barrister husband, Godfrey Norton, and her devoted companion and biographer, English spinster Nell Huxleigh.
The allies that Irene has made during her investigations include such luminaries as the Baron de Rothschild, Sarah Bernhardt, and Bram Stoker, as well as the soon-to-be-infamous Nellie Bly, a daring American journalist who helped Irene hunt Jack the Ripper. Now Nellie has wired Irene some astounding news, news that will shake her world: Irene’s mother is the target of an assassin.
Irene’s past is shrouded in secrecy, and at first she is unwilling to divulge anything that would link her to America. But a series of bizarre killings in New York City draws her reluctantly back to her native country, where she must race with a murderer to find her mother, a woman of mystery who may turn out to be the most notorious woman of the nineteenth century.
As Irene forges a trail into her own hidden past, Nellie Bly draws another ace investigator across the Atlantic to join the hunt for a serial killer, the last man on earth Irene Adler wants to discover anything about her shocking past . . . Sherlock Holmes.
Irene Adler is the beautiful opera singer who bested the best detective in the world, the only woman to ever outwit Sherlock Holmes. She has spent years in self-imposed exile in Europe, in an attempt to reinvent herself and create a new life, because she cannot remember the old one. But now circumstances have forced this diva-turned-detective to investigate a past she doesn’t remember–on her home ground.
Daredevil reporter Nellie Bly has lured Irene, her faithful chronicler and British Parson’s daughter Nell Huxleigh, and Holmes himself to America, offering information regarding Irene’s parentage. New York City in 1889 proves to be both fascinating and perilous for Irene, and Nellie Bly’s information turns out to be more harmful than helpful. Because now Irene and her allies–and enemies–must race to follow a deadly trail of hidden personal and political history back in time to the days of the California gold rush, forty years earlier.
They are pursuing the complex and contradictory life story of one of the most notorious women of the nineteenth century, and before the intrigue-ridden quest is over, Irene and Nell will uncover murderous international political conspiracies, lost treasure, and finally . . . the full, shocking secret of Irene’s birth.