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Irene at Large Hardcover – 1 Jul 1992

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Tor Books (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312852231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312852238
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,807,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning ex-journalist and novelist Carole Nelson Douglas has written sixty novels ranging from historical and contemporary mystery and romance to science fiction thrillers to high and urban fantasy.

She's a four-time Rita Award finalist and has RT Reviews Magazine lifetime achievement awards in Suspense, Mystery, Versatility, and as a Pioneer of Publishing. Currently, she writes two popular Las Vegas-set series: the Midnight Louie, feline PI, mysteries partially narrated by a "Sam Spade with hairballs" and the Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, noir urban fantasies of werewolf mobsters and Silver Screen zombies in a paranormal Sin City.

Douglas was the first author of a Sherlockian series with a female protagonist, diva-detective Irene Alder, the only woman to outwit Holmes, debuting with the New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes. Douglas says if she has a literary muse, it's definitely feline: mysterious, wise, playful, and packing sharp nails in velvet gloves.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Ball The Horror Hothouse on 8 Aug. 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found the concept of using Irene Adler as a rival of Sherlock Holmes quite intriguing to begin with. In this the third of Carole Nelson Douglas's adventures "The Woman" investigates a case that not only involves Sherlock Holmes's investigation of the lost Naval Treaty, but also explains the background of Colonel Sebastian Moran.

While the Watson pastiches are remarkably well written I found the bulk of the narrative by Irene's companion Penelope Huxleigh rather irritating as the main charachters continually witter on smugly about how much better a detective Irene is than Holmes, and far too much time is spent on describing Irene's and Penelope's outfitS. There was far too much use of coincidence in the story and sadly the final denoument was very predictable. The author also displays a woeful lack of knowledge about London's geography and the complexities of the UK's pre-decimal coinage.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 0 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Nell finally finds someone 25 Nov. 2000
By E. Dalton - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since I began reading this series, I had occasionally wondered if Penelope "Nell" Huxleigh, sensible parson's daughter and friend to the great Irene Adler, would ever find a special "someone" of her own. Irene, after all, has been happily married to Godfrey since the end of "Good Night, Mr. Holmes" (no spoiler there, as this is revealed in the Holmes version of the tale). I was pleasantly surprised with the nature of the match the author chose to make-- fitting with Nell's background, yet appropriate to her present and future. Quentin is simultaneously able to hold Nell up as an icon of respectability, yet admire her for her present adventures (much as she denies them). And in doing this, he encourages her to see herself more as we, the readers, have come to see her-- competent, practical, and intelligent.
The period references to the "Great Game"-- the ongoing struggle for domination between England and Russia, the two major world powers of the day-- were also detailed and well-written, and added a satisfying texture to Watson's past, as well as adding suspense to the plot. (Those who liked this aspect of the story might also like Margaret Ball's "Flameweaver" and "Changeweaver" novels, though these are historical fantasy rather than mystery.)
Oh, and the mystery itself was pretty good too. :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Embroidered Canon 21 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I find this book, as others in the series, a delightful addition to the Sherlockian canon. The adventures of Irene Adler loop in and around the known timeline of Sherlock's exploits, and the few tantalizing glimpses we have of the Great Detective keep him very definitely in character, unlike many ham-handed attempts by other authors. I highly recommend the entire series, and can't wait until it moves into the mysterious 2-year hiatus so unsatisfactorily explained by Mr. Holmes after his supposed death.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A good legacy 3 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read other supposed Sherlock Holmes take offs, This one succeeds by not recreating Sherlock Holmes but one of the characters from the original series. I enjoyed the female viewpoint and the tidbits of Sherlockian lore she weaves through the adventure. This was the first of the series that I have read, I have just bought the previous two and will spend a couple of great nights reading them. Hope Ms. Douglas bring out more in the series.
Irene Adler: A Strong, Shrewd, and Independent Woman in the Victorian World 15 Jun. 2013
By Carl E. Ahlm - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you love Sherlock Holmes and Victorian mystery, you will most assuredly enjoy Carole Nelson Douglas' "Irene At Large." This is the third tale which Douglas has crafted using Doyle's Irene Adler as a central character. How interesting and enjoyable it is to see Adler developed into an even more dynamic, complex character; here the creative mind of Douglas gives us a deeper look at Irene Adler, who was one of the few people and the only woman to thwart Sherlock Holmes. The story is told by Penelope Huxleigh (Adler's Dr. Watson) who was enjoyable as a character and a narrator. The pairing of these two dissimilar characters, the ultra-respectable, country parson's daughter Penelope with the Bohemian Irene, the "do as I want to do," convention breaking, smoking and drinking American singer, provides for delightful situations and an evolving friendship which moves from book to book. However, although Penelope's character does change, she does remain a delightful and at times frustrating foil to the shrewd Irene.

Douglas cleverly picks elements from Doyle's Holmes books and develops them into her own web of mystery. In "Irene At Large," she develops two major strands from Doyle: first and foremost, an explanation of Watson's war wound and then the background of Col. Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's right hand man. Holmes fans will recognize Col. Sebastian Moran from the short story "The Adventure of the Empty House". Holmes once described Moran as "the second most dangerous man in London" - the most dangerous - Professor Moriarty. The prologue hints at treachery in the 1880 Afghanistan campaign (Holmes fans should recognize the reference to Dr. Watson's past). Irene, her husband, and her confidante Nell Huxleigh are living in self imposed exile in Paris, when a poorly dressed stranger approaches them and is found to be poisoned. The poisoned stranger turns out to be Quentin Stanhope, an old acquaintance from Nell's past. After another attempt on his life, Quentin vanishes. And now the "game is afoot," or perhaps we should say, the "game is a cobra" as deadly snakes are used to kill several people from Paris to London.

Douglas' Irene Adler series are clever and enjoyable; the characterization is exceptional. Here Douglas has not just attempted to re-tell or recreate the character of Holmes, rather, she has carefully developed Adler and others from Doyle's works and made them her own. Carol Nelson Douglas has created an exceptional series of detective novels based on Irene Adler. I really like this series. and I strongly recommend them to you or to any fan of Holmes.
Historic mystery with a Holmesian flair 4 Jun. 2005
By F. Orion Pozo - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Irene At Large is the third in a series of mystery novels based on the career of Irene Adler Norton, a character from one of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. In Doyle's A Scandal In Bohemia Irene Adler outsmarts Holmes and wins his lasting admiration. Carol Nelson Douglas has taken this story as the basis for a series of delightful mystery novels that include Holmes and his companion Watson in mysteries that run parallel to the Holmes stories.

She has also created a framework for this continued series based on a current day historian Fiona Witherspoon who has supposedly discovered the diaries of Irene's companion Penelope "Nell" Huxleigh and unpublished memoirs of Dr. Watson that she blends into the novels of the series.

In this outing the plot takes place around the events of Doyle's story The Naval Treaty. Irene and Nell run into an old acquaintance of Nell's, Quentin Stanhope, dressed in Eastern garb, feverish, and quite unkempt. When they take him home, an attempt is made on his life. As they try to uncover his attacker, they find the answer may lie in events at the British battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan nine years earlier that link Stanhope to Dr. Watson and a mysterious spy known as Tiger.

This is an excellent story that should appeal to readers familiar with the tales of Sherlock Holmes, but who seek a more feminine and feminist point of view on the period and the characters.
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