This is the third book in the series about the “monstrous”—but very appealing—daughters (literal or figurative) of several famous fictional 19th-century villains: Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappacini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. In the first book they met, became friends, and formed the Athena Club, living together in Mary’s London home under the watchful eye of housekeeper Mrs. Poole. They also got involved with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Jack the Ripper. In the second book they branched out into Europe, met Irene Adler and Count Dracula, and added Lucinda Van Helsing to their number. They’ve now returned home and set out on a new quest: to rescue Alice, their maid, who has proved to have “monster” powers of her own, and—oh, yes—Sherlock too: both have disappeared mysteriously and have probably been kidnapped. Predictably they run into Holmesian archvillain Moriarty in the process, but the most serious threat proves to come from elsewhere.
Like the other two books, this one is full of adventure, peril, and fun. All the young women are delightful (my favorite is the rapscallion Diana), and the best part of the book is the endearingly snarky dialogues among them that periodically interrupt the narrative. For some reason I couldn’t quite identify, this book didn’t seem to “zing” quite as much as the first two, but it was certainly enjoyable. I was thus saddened to read hints at the end suggesting that this would be the last of the Athena Club’s adventures. I do hope I’m wrong about that!