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Monday, November 30, 2020

Review - The Cat of the Baskervilles

I have read the first in this series, but hadn't gotten to writing the review before I picked up this one (the third in the series) to read.  I am reviewing this one before I end up reading any more in the series!

Author: Vicki Delany

Copyright: Feb 2018 (Crooked Lane) 299 pgs

Series: 3rd in Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy mystery

Main Characters: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, manages her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium.

Setting: Modern day, West London on Cape Cod

Obtained Through: Library

Book blurb:  "Legendary stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham arrives on Cape Cod to star in a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles put on by the West London Theater Festival. When Sir Nigel, some of the cast, and the director visit the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop at 222 Baker Street, Gemma Doyle realizes that Sir Nigel is not at all suited to the role. He is long past his prime and an old drunk to boot. The cast, in particular the much younger actor who previously had the role, are not happy, but the show must go on.

Before the play opens, Leslie Wilson, mother of Gemma’s best friend Jayne, arranges a fundraising afternoon tea to be catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a huge success, but when it’s time to leave, Sir Nigel has gone missing—only to be found at the bottom of the rocky cliff, dead. Along with the dead body, Gemma finds evidence incriminating Leslie Wilson. When the police, in the presence of handsome detective Ryan Ashburton and suspicious detective Louise Estrada, focus their attention on Leslie despite the numerous other suspects, the game is once again afoot and it’s again up to the highly perceptive Gemma and the ever-confused but loyal Jayne to clear Jayne’s mother’s name."

Gemma is very observant, as befits a Sherlock themed book. Ironically, she isn't a big Sherlock fan, that would be the uncle who gave her the shop.  Jayne runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room and is Gemma's BFF.  She makes a good sidekick.  

Jayne's mother gets more of a role in this book - but she is keeping a secret that complicates matters.  Police detective Ryan Ashburton is the standard potential love interest who keeps his distance because of issues with her sleuthing.  Ryan's partner, Louise Estrada, doesn't trust nor like Gemma, at all, and makes it clear at every opportunity.

The setting of West London on Cape Cod is quaint.  Much of this book takes place at the mansion where the fundraising tea takes place, giving a great backdrop for the murder.  

The plot is driven by the concept of never knowing what a person's history is, what has happened in ones past.  This concept is highlighted well in this story.  The plot takes that and gives us a tangled web of secrets.

The climax was a classic rounding up of all the suspects and revealing the killer.  Not the nail biting confrontations I love, but it is a standard mystery reveal.  The wrap up answers all questions.

For those days when I want a good  contemporary cozy mystery this is an excellent choice.  I like Gemma, the mysteries are well developed, and have a good cast of characters in an interesting town.  If you haven't given this series a try, I heartily recommend you begin.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

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