“The Abduction of Pretty Penny,” by Leonard Goldberg, is the fifth book in “The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes” series. They are great reads and very entertaining.
Joanna, as you may recall from my earlier reviews, is the daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler. Married to Dr. Watson’s son, John, the three of them solve mysteries in the 1910s in London.
It’s 1917, the world is still dealing with World War I, but in London, a horrible villain has returned, or has he? Joanna is called upon to investigate the disappearance of “Pretty Penny,” an aspiring and enchanting actress who disappeared from Whitechapel.
A widow, Mrs. Emma Adams, has opened a theater in Whitechapel, and it is very popular due to Pretty Penny, the young blond actress who stars as Juliet. She also lives with Mrs. Adams and helps with the pub Mrs. Adams owns. She has disappeared and taken none of her belongings, most importantly, her inhaler. She is an asthmatic, and if she was leaving willingly, she would not have left it behind.
Just as she disappears, several women, all prostitutes, have been found, killed in similar fashion as Jack the Ripper did 30 years ago. Is Penny a possible victim of Jack? Is it really Jack the Ripper who has come out of retirement, or is it someone posing as Jack?
Joanna quickly deduces that the two cases are connected and works with Inspector Lestrade and the commissioner of Scotland Yard, Sir Charles Bradberry, to solve the case.
This is a very personal case to the commissioner. He remembered hunting Jack the Ripper as a young police officer and is certain it is the same person, based on all the evidence.
Following the clues, Joanna deduces that Jack is going to kill five more victims, Penny being the last. The group has five days to rescue Penny and apprehend Jack the Ripper.
Goldberg does an excellent job of describing how the poor and lower classes lived in London during this time. He also does a good job of showing how police investigations were changing as science found new ways of extracting evidence from crime scenes and the examination of victims.
As you may recall, I love Sherlock Holmes mysteries and always enjoy reading alternative Holmes novels. I truly believe Mr. Goldberg has captured the essence of the Arthur Conan Doyle character and brought to life a possible daughter who follows in her famous father’s footsteps.
Take a dive into the darker side of London and start with the first book of the series and work your way to this one, you won’t be disappointed.