The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss

This book was sort of adorable. The main character is Mary Jekyll, daughter of Dr. Jekyll. Over the course of the book she goes broke, learns her father's secrets, teams up with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, saves the life of Justine Frankenstein and solves the Ripper murders.

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter was a mash up of so many Victorian early sci fi classics, name checking The Island of Dr. Moreau, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, Dracula (both Dr. Seward and Renfield make an appearance) and the short story Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's almost too much, and I think that much that is enjoyable about the book would be lost on readers who are unfamiliar with the classics that provide the undergirding for the story.

 

I am not a Holmes purist, so I was fine with the addition of Holmes and Watson, although I don't think that their presence really added that much to the story. I would've preferred for the lady monsters to do all of their own mystery solving.

 

The conceit behind the book is beguiling, at least to me, although I'm not sure that the author's execution was as good as her idea. Some of the communications between the characters, breaking the fourth wall, were a bit distracting. I did like the asides about dress reform and women's suffrage, though.

 

Overall, this is a solid 3 1/2 stars for me, and I have already got a hold on the sequel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.

 

I read this book for the Supernatural square, although it would also fit: Gothic, Darkest London, Amateur Sleuth, Murder Most Foul, and Deadlands,