Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am delighted to feature The Sign of Four Spirits by Vicki Delany today!
The Sign of Four Spirits (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery)
9th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Publisher : Crooked Lane Books (January 9, 2024)
Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639105395
ISBN-13 : 978-1639105397
Kindle ASIN : B0C1Y8XNCV
Gemma Doyle won’t be spooked when a body shows up at the psychic fair in bestselling author Vicki Delany’s ninth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.
When a psychic fair arrives in West London, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, wants nothing to do with it. But somehow, at the urging of Donald Morris, an enthusiastic Sherlockian, she finds herself talked into attending a séance, along with baker and best friend Jayne Wilson, store assistant, Ashleigh, and former pop star Bunny Leigh.
But to her surprise, Gemma finds herself banned from the séance and shown the door. Curious, she listens in from outside the room. The medium informs a disappointed Donald that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will not be able to make it tonight. Then, Gemma hears a voice cut off, a cry for help, a scream. Gemma bursts into the library to see that someone has collapsed on the table–dead. The windows are all locked, and Gemma was guarding the only door. Someone in this room is a murderer. But who?
The game is once again afoot for Gemma Doyle, as she hunts a killer. But, this time, is the killer of flesh and blood or had the medium summoned doom from beyond the veil?
Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium owner Gemma Doyle finds herself caught up in another murder mystery when she goes against her better judgment and attends a séance arranged by former pop star Bunny Leigh, with her best friend Jayne, her assistant Ashleigh, and her friend and avid Holmes fan Donald Morris. Donald hopes to connect with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But before the séance begins Gemma is asked to leave the room by Madame Lavalier due to her skepticism, saying it would “disturb some her visitors”.
Like any good amateur sleuth, she leaves the room but listens from the other side of the door. While she expected some shenanigans, she didn’t expect a scream and a cry for help. Plunging through the door and turning on the lights she finds someone facedown on the table and quickly determines they are dead. There is only one exit out of the room and Gemma didn’t see anyone come out. The windows are all locked too. The murderer is in this room! Gemma just isn’t sure, is the killer a human being or a spirit?
Ms. Delany has penned a classic closed room whodunit in her 9th Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery and given her readers a real treat.
The characters in this series continue to shine. Gemma’s sleuthing skills rival Mr. Holmes himself. When she does get a little off track Ryan, her detective boyfriend is there to bring her back. His partner, Detective Louise Estrada hates when Gemma butts into their cases but is getting used to it. Gemma and her best friend Jayne, half-owner and manager of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room which is attached to her bookshop, meet every day for a “business meeting”, but if there is a murder afoot that becomes the prime discussion. Gemma’s assistant, Ashleigh has reconnected with her mother, former pop star Bunny Leigh who gets her involved in crazy things like a séance. Both Bunny and Sherlockian Donald Morris are excited to attend the psychic fair. Donald’s attendance is very beneficial for Gemma’s bookshop as he promoted it to everyone he talked to as the prime place to get Arthur Conan Doyle’s books not only featuring Sherlock Holmes but also his books about spirits and fairies.
There were twelve at the séance table including the victim when the murder occurred. All were suspects but Gemma knew her friends had nothing to do with the murder but may have noticed or heard something important. With seven suspects and an unusual murder weapon, Gemma shares with Ryan and Louise what little she knows about them and how the weapon may have been brought into the room. Then they start their official investigation while Gemma starts her unofficial one. I like that she shares her findings and theories with them rather than holding them back and trying to solve the whole thing by herself. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t find herself in an exciting showdown with the killer when all the clues snap into place though. I found myself at the edge of my seat as Gemma calmly tried to talk the killer out of their intentions anxious to see what would happen next.
The Sign of Four Spirits is a spirited well-plotted and well-executed cozy mystery with plenty of twists and turns. The well-developed characters easily draw readers into their lives. This story is entertaining from beginning to end. A Perfect Escape!
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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.”