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.
A Three Book Problem: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Crooked Lane Books (January 11, 2022)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643857983
ISBN-13 : 978-1643857985
Kindle ASIN : B092851CPP
Gemma Doyle is back on the case in bestselling author Vicki Delany’s seventh Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when a poisoned dart ends in demise.
It’s a crisp, early October weekend, and business is slowing down as fall descends at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and adjacent Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. Wealthy philanthropist and prominent Sherlockian David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House, where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend.
As the chosen caterers, Jayne Wilson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing lavish meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Meanwhile, police detective Ryan Ashburton has taken time away from his duties to assist in the kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that David’s guests don’t like each other–or their host. Plus, some of them aren’t even acquainted with the adventures of the Great Detective.
Before Gemma can ponder their relationships a poisoned dart sails through the window of the library, presenting Gemma Doyle with a three-book problem.
David Masterson is a prominent Sherlockian and a wealthy philanthropist and a frequent customer of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. He has decided to invite some friends and other Sherlockians for an English country house weekend at the Suffolk Gardens House. He has hired Gemma and Jayne to cater the event and use items from the Emporium to stage the house with all things Sherlock-related. They have also enticed Detective Ryan Ashburton, Gemma’s boyfriend to join them to help with preparing and serving the food.
David’s “friends” are not what Gemma, Jayne, and Ryan were expecting. Some appear to know nothing about Sherlock Holmes or act like they are not really happy to be there. Most seem to have ulterior motives for attending the weekend.
While meeting with Jayne and Gemma in the library a poison dart flies through the window screen and penetrated David’s neck and he quickly dies. With the good detective on the premises, the investigation quickly starts but it also puts Gemma and Jayne right in the thick of things. They know the killer has to be a guest of David’s and they aren’t going to miss their chance to question each of them.
Will they be able to throw the book at the guilty party or will the killer book it out of the Suffolk Gardens House and get away with murder?
This is one of my favorite cozy series!
Vicky Delany is a master storyteller. She has created such strong characters that continue to grow and evolve in each book. Gemma and Jayne have such a strong relationship and work together so well. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and even those out. Gemma’s observation skills are extraordinary and Jayne is the sounding board to help the clues fall into place. I am so happy to see Ryan and Gemma’s relationship going so well. He does value her talents even though he would like her to leave the investigating to him and his partner Louise. He is a smart man though and is just happy that Gemma shares her findings and theories with him sometimes with Louise simmering in the background.
The secondary characters were very interesting. As more of the victim’s life/lifestyle was uncovered it was clear to see everyone with the exception of Gemma, Jayne, and Ryan could have had a reason to kill the man. It was like I had a virtual Rolodex as I tried to keep track of all the information provided, shuffling the cards several times moving different people to the top of my personal suspect list. I was still shuffling right up until all was revealed.
The Suffolk Gardens House was a great setting for this basically closed-room mystery although it is an isolated big house with several rooms. The property had been on the market for some time but from the house to the garden it had not been maintained well. The author’s descriptions brought the place to life for me. It also made me imagine what a gem it could be had it been built and maintained better. The garden if taken care of could be amazing.
A Three Book Problem was a splendid who-dun-it with engaging characters full of twists and turns. You truly can’t go wrong with any book written by Vicki Delany. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery. The Game is a Footnote hits store shelves on January 10, 2023.
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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.”