Before Caleb Carr and Laurie R. King, Carole Nelson Douglas gave readers a compelling look into Victoriana with a bold new detective character: Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit Sherlock Holmes. An operatic diva and the intellectual equal of most of the men she encounters, Irene is as much at home with disguises and a revolver as with high society and haute couture. Chapel Noir is the fifth book in Carole Nelson Douglas's critically acclaimed Irene Adler series, which reinvents "the woman" that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced in "A Scandal in Bohemia" as the heroine of her own extravagant adventures.
This time readers are thrust into one of the darkest periods of criminal fact and fiction when two courtesans are found brutally slaughtered in the lavish boudoir of a Paris house. No woman should ever see such horrors, authorities declare, but a powerful sponsor has insisted that Irene investigate the case, along with her faithful companion, sheltered parson's daughter Penelope Huxleigh.
But does anyone really seek the truth, or do they wish only to bury it with the dead women--for there is a worse horror that will draw Irene and her archrival, Sherlock Holmes, into a duel of wits with a fiendish opponent. These Paris killings mimic a series of gruesome murders that terrorized London only months before, in a dangerous and disreputable part of town known as Whitechapel . . .