The Clockwork Scarab | Colleen Gleason

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Young society women don’t just go missing, and when a couple of them are found dead Irene Adler (for it is she) summons the Misses Stoker and Holmes to assist her in getting to the bottom of this mystery, all at the behest of HRH The Princess of Wales. After all, without this patronage how could any respectable young lady afford to get mixed up in this sort of business?

Not that these two are entirely respectable. Evaline has inherited the family mantle of vampire hunter, albeit not terribly successfully so far, and Mina wants to follow in her uncle’s footsteps given that Mycroft Holmes, her father, is rarely around and her mother is out of the picture, so she is very much left up to her own devices.

This is the background to a fun young adult novel set in an alternate Victorian London where electricity is banned for being dangerous and everything operates on steam and clockwork, and where a cult based on the worship of ancient Egyptian gods seems to be enticing debs away from the social whirl. There may even be an inadvertent time-traveller hanging around.

I will confess that I set this book aside about a third of the way in because I just wasn’t in the mood for the story of two young women who don’t get along being forced to work together surrounded by male persons expressing varying degrees of disapproval and disdain. But I wanted to know how the story developed, so picked it up again after a few weeks and I’m glad I did because it was very enjoyable once it got going. There is definitely more than a hint of romance – there is much blushing and fluttering of hearts – which isn’t normally my thing but in this context it works for me, and the developing realtionship between Evaline & Mina is well done.

The Clockwork Scarab is the first in a sequence of five novels which develop the relationship between these two young women, and I’m looking forward to reading them at some point soon.

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