On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
The Cat of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Paperback: 320 pages (October 9, 2018)
Kindle ASIN: B0719PN1GY
When Jayne Wilson’s mother is accused of murder, Jayne and Gemma have to eliminate the impossible to reveal the true killer.
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.
The West London Theater Festival is staging a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles starring legendary stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham. This is great for Gemma’s Sherlock Homes Bookshop. Everyone will be shopping for Sherlock memorabilia. They have also been asked to cater a fundraising tea for the theater. Sir Nigel himself stops by the shop and Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. Gemma can see the aging star is no longer up for the role especially when she observes his cane is also a flask for liquor.
The afternoon of the tea Gemma, Jayne and their crew arrive. Gemma is a little distracted by the home and its library but Jayne gets her back on track and the tea is quite a success. As the guests take their leave Sir Nigel is not to be found. A search is quickly organized and the lost man is found, dead at the bottom of a rocky cliff. Accident, suicide or murder? Jayne’s mother was seen arguing with Nigel so he becomes the prime suspect. Gemma decides to do her own investigation with Jayne and cast a wider net for suspects than the police. West London’s Sherlock and Watson will do all the can to put the real killer behind bars.
I love Gemma but this time I was not entirely happy with her methods. She finds a piece of evidence at the crime scene and removes it. She also tramples all over the area to see if she can help the man who was clearly dead. She has many talents, a keen intellect, and wicked strong observation skills. She is independent, strong-willed and can be very blunt. I know she took the evidence because she thought she was protecting Jayne’s mother, but it just felt beneath her stature to do something so wrong.
Jayne is a great counterbalance to Gemma and the perfect Watson to her Sherlock. She is friendlier and more easygoing than Gemma and is able to smooth over any ruffled feathers. That being said when it comes to her tea shop business she is super dedicated to getting everything just right. From the tea to the scones and finger sandwiches, she knows what she wants and how she wants it. She doesn’t let Gemma run roughshod all over her and I loved seeing this side of her.
The title to the story had me thinking Moriarty, the bookstore cat would play a larger role in the story, but I love that cat even though he clearly hates Gemma.
The story builds slowly as we get to know the new characters and how they fit together. The murder takes about midway into the story which I liked because we get to know the victim and everyone he is involved with to give us insight when looking at the suspects and their motives. The interplay between Gemma and detective Louise Estrada is interesting because the really don’t like each other. Gemma would much rather deal with detective Ryan Ashburton and it is easy to see why. This case had me completely in the dark and was surprised by the final reveal.
As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I get excited each time I pick up a book in this series. Ms. Delany knows how to tell a story. Her characters are unique and complex and are wrapped up in a mystery that kept me guessing.
Another entertaining tale from Vicki Delany! A fine addition to this series.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Most recently, she is the author of the Year Round Christmas cozy mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and (writing under the pen name of Eva Gates) the Lighthouse Library mysteries also from Berkley and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries for Crooked Lane Books. Find out more about Vicki Delany on her webpage here.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”