It is 1890. One woman rules the British Empire; virtually all other women rule domains no larger than their own kitchens. The widow of Constable Tobias Hudson has other ideas and has made other plans. She has organized the first of its kind consulting detective agency, combining her own unique powers of observation and vast knowledge of criminal investigation with the careful selection of an essential male figurehead. Sherlock Holmes possesses the language and bearing of a gentleman, as well as a haughty self-confidence that clients find reassuring. He brings with him the level-headed Dr. Watson, an addition Mrs. Hudson finds reassuring. Together they will investigate the death of Sir Stanley Parkerton who met his fate after a family dinner in which he had the same food and drink as the assembled guests. When the Parkertons' coachman, who drinks too much and knows too much, is murdered as well, the game is truly afoot. To solve the mystery, Mrs. Hudson and her colleagues must not only sort through the intrigues of both staff and family, they must also contend with the danger posed by the unexpected arrival of the White Rajah of Sarawak and the sudden intrusion of headhunters into the English countryside. The chronicler of these events, BARRY S. BROWN, has spent most of his professional life in the area of research into social problems. He has worked in mental hospitals, prisons and drug abuse treatment agencies, and has published more than 100 papers and chapters based on his studies in those areas. He now lives with his wife, Ann, in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, a safe distance from the mayhem of Victorian England.

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