As Dr. Watson famously said of Irene Adler, "To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman." Carole Nelson Douglas has parlayed Irene Adler into a series of books.
In Spider Dance, Irene and her friend, Nell Huxleigh, are in New York City, trying to find out who Irene’s long-lost mother was. The infamous Lola Montez is the most likely contender. Holmes is also in town, investigating a grotesque murder at the Vanderbilt mansion. Inevitably, the two cases become tangled up.
Even by the standards of Sherlockiana, the plot is improbable: rogue Ultramontanes, lost fortunes, mausoleums at midnight. It’s entertaining though, and well-told. Irene is a pistol. Lola, whose story is woven through the book, even more so. Nell, the primary narrator, is a parson’s daughter and a former governess. Her priggishness is fraying under the assaults of the unconventional lifestyle she now leads with Irene.