SUVUDU's latest 50-Page Fridays offered the above-mentioned short story, a prequel to Emma Jane Holloway's "A Study in Silks." (Found at http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/2013/09/50-page-fridays-emma-jane-holloway.html). I had read the description for "A Study in Silks" but written it off as too much like historical romance. After reading "The Adventure of the Wollaston Ritual," I think I made a mistake, and I've added the novel to my lengthy list of "To Be Read" books.
Evaline Cooper, the protagonist, is the niece of Sherlock Homes and a former Victorian circus performer with magic in her blood, who was taken from her father's family when she reached the age that girls become young women and was sent by her paternal grandmother to the Wollaston School for Young Ladies.
I adore Laurie R. King's excellent series about Mary Russell Holmes, a young American heiress who becomes Sherlock Holmes' apprentice and then his wife through her novels. These have been the only Sherlock Holmes stories, other than the originals, that have ever interested me. Although I like the television series, "Elementary," and Robert Downey Jr. makes an excellent case as Holmes in his movies, I just haven't been impressed with many of the Holmesian personas and had written off (no pun intended) the idea of trying anything else involving Holmes.
After reading this short story, which involves magic, clockwork figures, Victorian strictures that hampered the women of the time, and a feisty heroine who seems realistic as a character, I'm going to have to read "A Study in Silks" - probably right after it comes out on September 24, 2013. Of course, I'm not a total fool - I'll read it from the library before I decide whether I want to add the actual book to my overly large personal collection (I'm running out of room on my shelves). But in the meantime, the haunting images from this short story will probably come to my mind as I go to sleep this evening - isn't that what good writing does?