Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A Scandal in Brooklyn

A few years ago I read Lauren Wilkinson's novel American Spy, and loved it.  I've been waiting since then for something new from her, and now finally there is.  It's a short story, recently released as an Amazon original, called "A Scandal in Brooklyn".

As the title makes clear, we're in Sherlock Holmesian territory.  Except here Irene Adler is a contemporary Black woman in Brooklyn who is married to a tech billionaire.  Irene has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, a condition akin to photographic memory, and she uses it in Holmesian fashion when asked by a girlfriend of hers to look into what is going on with the friend's husband who has apparently volunteered for a weird and secretive experiment at a restricted virtual-reality compound, owned by Irene's husband, in Red Hook.

The narrator is a good friend of Irene's, a gay man named Tommy Diaz.  Once they all get inside the warehouse where the virtual reality experiment is taking place, the friend's husband winds up dead in a locked room. The cause of his demise? Anaphylaxis, and from, it seems, the sting of a virtual bee.

Though Irene and her husband are estranged, he sends her a text asking for her help in solving the crime.  A man who we see once only in hologram form, he believes the murder is the doing of competitors trying to damage his reputation.  Inside the compound as part of the experiment are a number of suspects, and Irene goes about questioning them, poking around.  Tommy helps her, in true sidekick fashion, and the clues lead to an elegant and logical solution.

The cast of characters is diverse, the writing sharp and fast.  "A Scandal in Brooklyn" makes for a diverting hour or so of reading, and I'd be happy to read more stories about these characters if Lauren Wilkinson writes them.  I'm glad she's back with something.

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