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NEW! 28th and last Louie mystery
NEW! 28th and last Louie mystery

THE END IS HERE! Coming August 23 in trade paperback and eBook the 28th and last Midnight Louie feline PI mystery! There WILL be a wedding! Pre-order at Amazon and Apple!

09GNMHtp300The Irene Adler Series, featuring the only woman to outwit Sherlock Holmes

Books in Order

GOOD NIGHT, MR. HOLMES (New York Times Notable Book of the Year) . . . THE ADVENTURESS (previously GOOD MORNING, IRENE) . . . A SOUL OF STEEL (previously Irene at Large) . . . ANOTHER SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA . . . CHAPEL NOIR and CASTLE ROUGE (the Jack the Ripper duology) . . .  FEMME FATALE    . . . . . SPIDER DANCE

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   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. NOW ALL IN EBOOK.

“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

Rachel McAdams

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)

Good Night Mr Sherlock HolmesGoodnight, Mr. Holmes–Book 1

“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.

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adventuressThe Adventuress–Book 2  (formerly Good Morning, Irene)

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.

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soul-of-steelA Soul of Steel–Book 3  (formerly Irene at Large)

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.

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another-scandal-in-bohemiaAnother Scandal in Bohemia–Book 4 (formerly Irene’s Last Waltz)

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.

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chapel-noirChapel Noir–Book 5

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 . . .

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castle-rougeCastle Rouge–Book 6

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?

Buy it now or write a review. Barnes & Noble Borders Books-A-Million IndieBound Tor/Forge

femme-fataleFemme Fatale–Book 7

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.

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spider-danceSpider Dance–Book 8

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.

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78 Responses to “Irene Adler”

  • Maxim Panyagin:

    Dear Mrs Douglas,

    I translated your novel “Adventuress” about Irene Adler for the official Russian edition, the samples of which were recently posted here by one of the Russian fans. It was so thrilling to get absorbed in your style, solve the mystery with Irene, Godfrey, and Nell, and render your book into Russian! I’m happy to see that the audience enjoyed it. Thank you so much for the pleasure I had while translating your novel and good luck with all the other series you’re currently working at.

    Kind regards,
    Maxim Panyagin

  • I have just discovered these marvelous novels! Sadly, I am about to finish the 8th one and have nothing to look forward to! I add my pleas to those who have gone before…do not let Irene and Nell languish! Let them stride forth overcoming obstacles and annoying Mr. Holmes. Let mystery reign, strong women fly free ( of corsets and second thoughts) and let me spend another delightful time in another time and place….with a woman I could only dream of being. Thank you for these glorious paeans to womankind! More, more, more!

  • Jaroslav Yakimov(Russia):

    Hello,Mrs. Douglas.
    While in Russia waiting for the release of the last four volumes of the “Irene Adler” I’ll show the first publication of your books about Irene Adler in Russian in 2013.
    In 2013 in Russia was first published three volumes about Irene Adler.(1,4,8).
    http://s2.goods.ozstatic.by/ay/1000/503/326/10/10326503_0.jpg (1)
    http://data.fantlab.ru/images/editions/orig/113471 (4)
    http://data.fantlab.ru/images/editions/orig/108364 (8)

  • Thank you so much! I rarely get copies of foreign editions, so I don’t see the covers. Irene looks very stylish against those city backgrounds. I will warn you the the next two books, about Jack the Ripper in Paris, deal with more death and violence because of the subject matter. I wanted to portray his victims more sypathetically. These were poor homeless women, not the glamorous young streetwalkers they are so often portrayed as in films.

  • Ярослав Якимов(Россия):

    Hello,Mrs. Douglas.
    In Russia today, released the fifth volume of “a scandal in Bohemia”.
    I want to show the covers of your books in the Russian version.
    P. S. these are the first four books of Irene Adler.

  • Wonderful to hear from you! I knew the books had sold to Russia, but not when they’d be printed. I’m glad you like to read so much at age 13. You will have that habit for life. And you may become a writer yourself. I am not sure if I will write more full novels about Irene Adler in future. I was sad to stop writing them, and now I have so much to do with my other series. Thanks for writing. It is thrilling to know you are looking forward to the Russian publication of the series!

    Thanks, Carole

  • Jaroslav Yakimov (Russia):

    Hello,Mrs. Douglas.I live in Russia.I am 13 years old.In my country in 2015 will release all your books about Irene Adler in the Russian language.I very like to read.I wanted to ask you,will you write other books about Irene Adler?

  • Thanks for writing, Lavinia. It was thrilling to read how my Adler books traveled with you to some locations in which they are set! I’m glad to have such a devoted reader for Irene, who is one of my favorite characters. I’m proud of being the FIRST woman to write a Holmes spin-off series and the first author to give a woman from the Canon her own adventures. I don’t think there are Italian editions of my Adler books, although they’re in Russian, Polish and Japanese. My first novel, Amberleigh, was printed in Italy, long ago. To answer your question on the title changes: after Good Night, Mr. Holmes and Good Morning, Irene came out, another publisher printed another mystery titled Good Night, Irene. Back in the ’90s authors and publishers still cared about not copying title formats for other books, but that was breaking down. This caused tremendous complications in distribution, and even reviews. I called to ask if the author/publisher were planning to continue with the this matching title format and was told yes (and not in a very nice way). So I dropped the “greeting” element and went with Irene at Large. There was still confusion. When the first four books were reissued years later, I asked to change the three “Irene” titles. Good Night, Mr. Holmes obviously needed to remain the first title. I actually wish I’d thought of the changed titles first, because they’ll all from Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” story introducing Irene. She’s called an adventuress, so book two became “The Adventuress.” (Irene is not the adventuress of the title.) A Soul of Steel for book 3 matches the British Afghanistan war elements and is how the King of Bohemia described Irene to Holmes. “She has a soul of steel.” And Another Scandal in Bohemia is the “bookend” book that picks up elements of Good Night, Mr. Holmes and closes out that entire episode.

    I’ll put you on my newsletter list, which tells what’s coming. Right now I’m committed to finishing my 28-book Midnight Louie feline PI mystery series. Only one more book to write for publication in 2016! Then I’ll be able to give attention to my other series books, principally Irene! I may write a short story and certainly have several Adler short stories to put out in print and ebook, which I’ll do as I can.

    Thanks so much for telling the huge impression my Adler series has made on you! Sweet words for a writer to hear!

  • […] Irene Adler Series–the only woman to outwit Sherlock … [Click!]The Irene Adler Series, featuring the only woman to outwit Sherlock Holmes … debuted as the […]

  • Lavinia:

    Hello Ms. Douglas,
    I should start by saying that I’m totally in literary love with the character of Irene Adler and think I’ve read/seen almost every version of her!
    I even cosplayed as her for Halloween. 😉
    A couple of months ago, as I was giving my dad an italian translation of “A scandal in Bohemia” (and was filling it with a million notations and drawings for a “better read”….as a friend told me: “do every thing you love with obsession!”) I found out about your books! I was thrilled to read them and soon ordered the first!
    Now I’ve finished it and I love it!!! It was so totally funny….I took the book with me while I was travelling, and it seamed to mimic my trip…in London I would go to a place in the day, and then read about that exact place at night…then came back to italy…then went to visit friends in Prague…even smaller things…evey time reading a chapter just after I did it…hehe, I loved it even more.
    I’m gonna get “Good night, Mr Holmes” in Kindle version, too, to take it with me always for urgent cases of “need to re read that book”! 😉
    I already ordered the whole collection and I’m impatiently waiting for the postman in front of the door! Thank you for giving us great stories about Irene.

    A couple of questions now. I was wondering why the titles of 3 of your novels got changed in later dates? I thought the original titles fitted them best.
    And do you know if there are italian translations of your books? I’ll love to have my mom read it, too, but she does not read english…I’ve started translating it myself for her, (have a degree in languages) but it would be great to find it in stores!
    Waiting to read the other novels and for you to write anything more about Irene (yep, know about the short novel and would order it soon). Do you have any other work in progress at the moment? Where do I find out about new books/short stories?

    Thank you for reading this. I’m pretty logorroic, I know, but I really wanted to share my Irene love with someone who gets her, and I wanted to thank you for giving me hours to spend with Irene through your books!


  • Hi, Margot,

    Thanks for writing! I’m glad you found Spider Dance. I had not intended to stop the series there, but the publishing business shifts a lot. That’s why the series had a seven-year hiatus between the first and second four books. Thanks for reminding me of the many continuing issues. 🙂 I understand your favoring print over ebooks, not the least that you can annotate on paper. I don’t have the print rights to any of the Adler books, and I doubt that the publisher will reprint them or grant me print rights. Those books I have print rights to (older titles and anything new), I will get out in print and ebook, but it will take a long time!

  • Hi, Elaine,

    I’m glad you found my essay in the MS magazine. Thanks for your comments. Stephen Moffat, writer-producer of Doctor Who and Sherlock, heard a lot of female criticism for his “naughty” and, worse, hapless version of Irene Adler. I suspect he was somewhat stung and may bring her back. I doubt he’d ever understand what women viewers found disappointing in his version, which he’s entitled to, but wouldn’t it be great if the dominating male presence in film-making once in a while produced a guy who “gets” women’s issues? There’s a movement now for men to stop standing by when women’s rights are trampled on, and to “stand up” with them. About time. And, of course, the head of Microsoft just said women shouldn’t ask for raises but let them come by “karma.” After struggling in three male-dominated fields, journalism, mystery and science fiction/fantasy writing, my impression from the beginning was that most of the men therein were oblivious to the fact they floated on “magic carpets” that lofted them up over many more deserving women. That what came to them by effortless karma was because of their own wonderfulness and not the old boys’ club. Now that more women are becoming entrepreneurs, it will be much better.

  • Margo Moore:

    Somehow I had missed “Spider Dance” when it first came out, but I just finished it and came to the website in hopes of learning whether another book in the series was planned. I’m relieved to read that one is planned, even if title and date are not firm yet…there are still so many unanswered questions and unresolved situations that it must surely require at least 2 more novels to resolve everything: does Nell ever transcribe Lola’s diary in its entirety? Does she ever manage to decode the baby book? Does she ever get married to what’s his name? Do they ever confirm (or not) if LM was Irene’s mother (with all potential complications that might entail)? Do Irene and Godfrey ever have a child? Who was Irene’s father (had to have a good singing voice, hadn’t he? Does Nell (if she marries ) ever have a child? Do they ever find the treasure? Do they ever find Mrs Buchanan ? (See, readers notice these little details)! I will be waiting impatiently to find out!…. PS: I hate e-books and would like to see paper reprints of every title kept in print. I reread them, correct typos and any other errors I find (in all books, not just yours), and write various commentaries in the margins in varying ink colors…not possible with e-books.

  • Elaine:

    Carole, I just read your 2013 essay on Irene Adler in Mystery Scene. I agree totally on how distressing it is that most male interpreters of IA have criminalized her and/or treated her as a sex object, put her in need of male rescue or put her to work for/as Moriarty. I have not read any of the feminist bloggers you mention, but I’d love to see their comments, too! I was seriously annoyed and disappointed by the depiction of IA on “Sherlock”. Like you, I approve of the depiction of IA (played by Gayle Hunnicutt) in the Jeremy Brett BBC series. Here’s the question, though: Have you seen the 1998 movie “Zero Effect”? It features (like “Sherlock”) an updated Holmes-like character, and the plot (this is a spoiler, but you would certainly figure this out, anyway) is based on “A Scandal in Bohemia.” I think it does the IA character justice. As do your books, of course!

  • Ah, Nell is waiting in the wings to reveal another adventure, but I can only do so much at once. I’ve been putting clones on my Christmas list for some time, but no luck so far. I love the characters too, and hope to have more about in future. Thanks for writing.

  • Deepa:

    Enjoyed all 8 books of Irene Adler series. waiting if any more will come with Ms. Huxleigh decoding the book they found. I loved the characters !! Each one is unique and contribute to the plots very well.

  • Nice to know my series was mentioned!

  • […] then partners with, then marries Holmes). I’ve also enjoyed Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series (you may remember her as the only woman to ever defeat Holmes as related in “A Scandal in […]

  • All the Adler books are on sale in Ebook for January-February of 2014, at $2.99. Since they are more than a million words altogether, that’s quite a bargain. I’m so heartened to hear that a younger reader is happy to find a strong and independent Irene Adler! Thanks for writing me.

  • Naming a favorite is impossible! I’ve just reread them all for conversion into eBook format. I had different goals in each book. In Good Night, Mr. Holmes, to reinvent Irene Adler as Conan Doyle had envisioned her, a woman of wit, wisdom and integrity. Only men wrote about these characters afterward, for almost a century. I was the first woman to write a long, Holmesian novel, with the first woman protagonist from the Canon. The Adventuress (formerly Good Morning, Irene) included the FIRST beautiful blonde American princess of Monaco. It was about American heiresses being “sold” on the European marriage market to financially struggling aristocracy. Actress Grace Kelly was the last in that line and a new movie is coming out about her, Grace of Monaco. A Soul of Steel (formerly Irene at Large) investigates the obscure battle Watson was wounded in, in Afghanistan, and show the roots of the fruitless involvement for culture after culture. Another Scandal in Bohemia (formerly Irene’s Last Waltz) revolves around the persecution of the Jews through the apparent appearance of the Golem in Prague. The Jack the Ripper duology, Chapel Noir and Castle Rouge, humanize the victims of the Ripper instead of make the Ripper an anti-hero. I also get to play with a novel of the time, Dracula. Femme Fatale does not feature a gorgeous, fickle or dangerous woman, but a society abortionist and the beginning of the Comstock censorship ere. Spider Dance reinvents one of the most notorious woman in the 19th century, who proves to be a victim of her time. So, I’m happy to have tackled such a wide range of issues in an adventuresome, amusing way.

  • Good Night, Mr. Holmes is a novel and a long form works well with various points of view. Watson is the narrator of the Holmes scenes in that book, as I recall, but I did use Holmes as the narrator in later books. “The Private Wife of Sherlock Holmes” is a novella, much shorter than a novel, and a single narrator works best there. This is only the second Irene Adler story I’ve written in Irene’s viewpoint. As Watson reported Holmes’ adventures, Nell Huxleigh conveys those of Irene Adler in the novels and most shorter stories.
    > Also, why did you choose Irene Adler specifically to write about? What inspired the series? What was the overall aim / message of the books?
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story indicated Irene was a clever woman with integrity, and that she had been “wronged” by the King of Bohemia. All men who picked up the character in
    pastiches, made her a courtesan and/or criminal. Yet the demanding profession of singing grand opera is something she wouldn’t have forsaken lightly. New film versions of Adler by males have outraged women bloggers, who complain that new versions of Irene Adler always “sexualize and criminalize” her, taking away her bold and brilliant moves against Holmes, and her personal integrity. There are few women in literary history who could be called “heroines” and who outdo iconic male characters. I wanted to create a fuller version of an admirable Irene Adler on a par with Holmes, not as some “Victorian vamp.” My dedication to Good Night, Mr. Holmes is: “To S.H., a woman worthy of him.” And Publishers Weekly concluded
    the novel is a “truly original perspective” on “the woman.” “She’s a superior woman at that; readers will doff their deerstalkers.”

    The series itself explores the rise of the trade and artistic classes as opposed to the old aristocracy of Europe and even the new “robber baron” aristocracy of America. And the equality of women is always a driving force.

    Good luck with your dissertation!

  • Elecia:

    Hi Carole,

    I have been really enjoyong your Irene Adler Series, so much so that I have chosen it as a focus for my dissertation project.

    I am intrigued as to why you chose to alternate between Holmes and Adler as narraters in ‘Good night Mr Holmes’, but Adler remains the narrator throughout in ‘The Private Wife of Holmes’?

    Also, why did you choose Irene Adler specifically to write about? What inspired the series? What was the overall aim / message of the books?

    If you could email me with a response, I would be incredibly grateful.



  • Tina W:

    Ms. Douglas,
    I have only just finished your first book on the adventures of Irene Adler and I am now both thrilled and a little dismayed to find out I must now purchase seven other books on an unemployed seventeen year old’s salary! I am determined to make it work because your writing was wonderful and I’m glad to finally have a series in which Irene is shown as the wonderful character she is. Nell, Godfrey and of course Cassanova have also completely won me over. I thank you for writing about “The Woman” and I am excited to read further!

  • Rose:

    Which book is your favorite in this series?

  • I know Nancy Springer and her wonderful Enola Holmes books. She’s a terrific writer, but I know she ended her series because she felt that was where it
    had to bow out. And most writers don’t have that collaboration gene. 🙂 I might still write more Adler novels. Your instincts about Nell and Nellie are
    right on! I wanted the entire series to reflect changes in the Olde and New World, particularly in the lives of women at the time. Thanks for bringing up that issue.

    Happy Holidays,


  • Sean Hagins:

    Just one more thing. I do not know how easy it is to collaborate on ideas and characters, but have you ever read Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes stories? I don’t know why i didn’t think of it before-another strong and independent female character in the Victorian Sherlockian universe! Well, it is a young adult (but very mature and well written) series that came out in the latter half of the last decade. Perhaps she can team up with your Irene Adler and Nell! If so, i would say the adventure would have to be light-like the first half of your series instead of the duology of books 5 & 6.

    Anyway, i hope i don’t bore you-my mind has been racing with ideas over the weekend (probably comes from having no weddings or sports events to shoot for awhile)

    I also must say i’m still reading book 6-Castle Rogue. So, Irene has marshaled her troops, and is using Nellie. Odd how Nell and Nellie are so dissimilar, and yet to me are two halves to a whole. Nellie is prim and proper with her prejudices (“Rule Britanna all the way”), and Nellie is anti-proper, with her prejudices (“enough of these stuffy Europeans-only the fresh USA is right”) I don’t know if you intentionally decided to make Nellie’s character the polar of Nell’s, but i find that quite interesting!

    Again, i want to thank you for these books-i must say, not only the mystery, but the character development is truly fascinating me!

    (Ok, i’ve probably taken up enough of your valuable time. Take care!)

  • Sean Hagins:

    Hey, Mz. Douglas, i have had an idea for you! You want dark, and you want a new flavour? How does this sound?:

    This doesn’t have to be your last book (as more journals can be found from prior times), but have a VERY old Nell write a story during the Blitz-say in 1940. She is so worried that she is going to die, and/or the England she champions will fall that she is writing of an experience that she promised herself never to think of again, even in her private diaries!

    And from there, you can go to some Victorian or Edwardian adventure. If you want our dynamic duo to still be relatively young, it could be Victorian, but i’m thinking an adventure more like Agatha Christie’s “N or M?” where Tommy & Tuppence are in their latter middle aged years. Maybe dealing with something to help a 30-ish Allegra? (I am only in the 6th book, but still reading, so if Allegra dies or somehow can not be in book 9, forgive me AND DON’T TELL ME!)

    Perhaps if you still want to include historical figures, the Wright brothers, or maybe Marie Curie, or if you want the book to be lighter, perhaps Beatrix Potter!

    I don’t think i mentioned this, but i used to write, and i still have stories bouncing in my mind. At this point, i haven’t the time to write a book, but if i can give you an idea that not only gets Irene Adler firmly back in your capable hands, but also if you are looking for a new direction, i think a lot can be done to play with this!

    Do me a favour? You know how you emailed me before? Please do it again to let me know that you responded to this message. I really think these ideas will speed along a book faster than…well, faster than governess Nell can spank a naughty child!

  • Hi, Sean,

    Getting my books out in audio is one of my goals, but I have a LOT of books.

    I’m glad you love Chapel Noir. After I suggested the publisher resume the series after seven years, and they agreed, I saw that mystery historicals had grown darker. I don’t like to go too dark, but I was very irritated by how books and films made Jack the Ripper into almost a hero and gave no sense of the victims’ bleak lives, and sometimes turned these hard-used Victorian women into long-haired, decolletage-showing beauties. I also had a historical candidate for the Ripper who truly came from a depraved background and COULD have been on scene. So, yes, the later books darker and more complex, while not losing the wit and humor. As Irene tells Nell early in Chapel Noir, the ancient Greek theatrical masks of Comedy and Tragedy are always depicting next to each other, touching. When I resume the series after all these years, I’m thinking they’ll be different again. And when that will be won’t be for a couple years at least.

  • Hi, Kimberly,

    We writers often find ourselves interrupting series because something happens in publishing we can’t control. I appreciate your plea for more Irene Adler! I’m getting out shorter Adler stories in eBook and print in the next year or two. A novel would come after that. If I had clones, it would be here now. “The Private Wife of Sherlock Holmes” is the first story out.

  • Greetings, Julia. My agents just sold three more Irene Adler novels to a Russian publisher!! It’s wonderful to know that the translations are being enjoyed and my love of playing with language is evident in translation. I am Czech on my mother’s side and heard that language as a child. They said it was similar to Russian. Sadly, the elders used Czech to say things they didn’t want me to know, instead of encouraging me in a second language!

  • Good to hear from you on that Diana. I do have “The Private Wife of Sherlock Holmes” story out in eBook. I’ll work on getting more Adler stories, at least, out in eBook next year. There will eventually be a print short story collection, but I am one busy author! And a new novel? I hope so, in time!

    Thanks for your support!

  • Sean Hagins:

    Hello! I am so busy i usually don’t have time to read-just to listen to audiobooks. I LOVED the first 4 Irene books-the two readers (Watson’s voice and Nell’s voice) are PERFECT! I am just sorry your last 4 books are not on audio

    Anyway, because the last 4 aren’t in audio, i haven’t read them-then one day i decided to buy all 8 printed books on ebay-am i ever glad i did! I am near the end of book 5 (Chapel Noir) and love it. I can tell that you took some three quarters of a decade hiatus between books 4 & 5-they truly have a vastly different feel.

    Anyway, i just wanted to say good job and ask if you if and when you will write a book 9. Also, someone mentioned that there are some short stories available on Irene that you penned. Where can i find them?

  • Kimberly:

    When will another book come out?? I’ve been stuck waiting since… a long time! your the reason I want to see prauge! please do another Irene adler book! Many MANY more!!

  • Julia:

    Thank you for the pleasure of your books. Most recently, they came out in my native Russia. You have a wonderful sense of color and language.

  • Diana BR:

    Hi Carole: I certainly hope you will continue with more adventures of Irene Adler. I have just been re-reading them after several years and am enjoying them once again.

  • I figured this out before I looked at your next message.

  • Hi, Chris,

    Sorry to hear you’re having difficulties finding my books. It looks like you’re searching for the Irene Adlers ones. They are mostly out of print, but I have made the first four available in eBook format. The last four are in eBook format from the publisher. I don’t have the rights to put any of these books into print, although I easily could. The publisher won’t revert the titles. I’m sorry. Any of the big bookseller online sites would have used versions of the hardcovers, Barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, booksamillion.com, etc.

  • chris:

    sorry i don’t specify which books. they are irene adler series.

  • chris:

    dear mrs douglas,
    i find difficulties on finding your books.
    most online stores i know are out of stock.
    the only available option for me right now is buying 2nd-hand which fortunately in good shape.
    do you have any recommendation for online bookstores which provide your brand-new-books and support international delivery?

  • Thanks for asking, Collette! There’s an Irene short story out in eBook, “The Private Wife of Sherlock Holmes,” and I plan to get other novellas out. A new novel could be in the offing after that. As for Nell getting married . . . we are all waiting with bated breath!! I put you on my e-scribe newsletter list so you know what’s coming.


    Carole and Louie and Irene.

  • Colette Girard:

    Dear Ms. Douglas
    Are there anymore Irene Adler novels in the works? I have enjoyed all of them but do not notice any recent additions. I am especially looking for any plans on Nell getting married. Hopefully, this is in the future.
    I am a big fan of this series as well as Midnight Louie. Colette

  • As an ex-journalist myself, I was tickled to see this blog mention of my Irene Adler novels that include Nellie Bly: Chapel Noir, Castle Rouge, Femme Fatale and Spider Dance.

  • […] the right as one of its book covers. Come to think of it, I lost a chunk of last summer to a trilogy-plus-one that featured Nellie Bly and Sherlock Holmes on a trail of bloody murders with echoes of Dracula and Jack the […]

  • […] for Tomorrow magazine before it went completely online, and maps and illustrations for Carole Douglas’ Irene Adler mystery series.  (I met her and Algis Budrys, the Tomorrow editor, at SF conventions.) Those illustrations were […]

  • […] List of Excitement! Here’s the Irene Adler series; eight novels by Carole Nelson Douglas: http://carolenelsondouglas.com/book-series/irene-adler/ You all may be interested to know that there are also Victorian!Lestrade novels, by M. J. Trow […]

  • Your blog post on Holmes-related books and the new Downey film interpretation is very interesting and I’m glad you mentioned my Irene Adler series. But the characterization you make of Irene as a “grifter and con-artist” (and also an attractive, duplicitous “minx”) comes from the recent Ritchie-Downey film, not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and not me.

    Doyle made Irene an opera singer, not a career one follows without years of hard study. And, in those days, opera performers wore many pounds of elaborate costuming and projected their voices in huge opera houses without benefit of microphones. They were artistic endurance athletes also. 🙂 In my series, I showed the young Adler taking on private inquiry agent jobs to support her singing career, but she was never criminal. That did not fit the intense admiration Sherlock Holmes (and Doyle) showed for her in the first Holmes short story, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” which featured her. I enjoyed the Downey film, but, as friends point out, “that’s not YOUR Irene Adler,” a formidable woman of culture and integrity as well as cleverness and wit. It’ll be interesting to see what the BBC series “Sherlock,” does with the character; yet another interpretation, I’m sure.



  • […] Adler (the closest the asexual Holmes has come to a romantic interest), has been given her own series of novels by Carole Nelson Douglas. (I skimmed the Irene Adler novel Chapel Noir, which also deals with Jack the Ripper, and it seemed […]

  • […] get enough of her. Countless pastiches have expanded on her story – some rather creatively. (Notably, see Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series. […]

  • Well, here’s a bit of a blog that refers to the Irene Adler books.

  • […] Nazi-era mysteries of Philip Kerr and Alan Furst ,and the Victorian-era novels of Laurie R. King, Carole Nelson Douglas and Anne Perry, when travelling to England or, well, if I just can't find a mystery that matches my […]

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