The Cat of the Baskervilles

baskerville

The Cat of the Baskervilles
A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, Book 3

Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane, 2018

From the dust jacket, “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, owner 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 event 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 body, Gemma finds evidence incriminating Leslie Wilson. When the police focus their attention on Leslie, despite the numerous other suspects, the game is once again afoot, and it’s up to the highly perceptive Gemma and the ever-confused but loyal Jayne to clear Jayne’s mother’s name.”

My human had originally checked this book out to read but just as I started, I realized it was #3 in the series and I hadn’t read #2! So I sent her back to the library to get #2, read that first and then read this one – marathon-style – so it wouldn’t be overdue!!

I loved this book as much as the first and second ones I read, but I have two gripes. One, I do wish the publishers wouldn’t be so extravagant in their blurbs about the role Jayne plays in solving the mystery. She’s really there as a sounding board as well as the comedic wing-woman. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a definite asset to the story, but she wouldn’t recognize a murder if it took place in front of her, let alone solve one. And, two, I also wish the publishers wouldn’t rush to print because this book had several spelling areas and one major editing error. It’s no spoiler to say that at the start of a scene, Gemma was driving, then in the middle of the scene, Jayne was driving and then as they arrived at their destination, Gemma was driving again. The scene took only a few paragraphs so no evidence of stopping and switching drivers twice along the way.

Gripes aside, I really enjoyed this book. The murderer was a complete surprise – I hadn’t even given any thought that it would be that person. Who I thought it was, was completely innocent!! My bad! It’s a good thing I’m not a detective! I’m looking forward to installment #4, and hopefully the publishers will keep an eye out for all those errors and fix them before printing!!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws, even though part of me wants to give it only 3 paws due to the errors, but the story and mystery really were good enough to outweigh the mistakes.

P.S. It’s okay if I make spelling and grammar errors because I’m a cat, not professional and sell nothing.

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Body on Baker Street

baker street

Body on Baker Street
Sherlock Holmes Bookshop: Book 2

Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson, managers of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, have arranged a book signing by the (arguably) illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the highly controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author’s Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris berates Renalta for disgracing Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is, until Renalta collapses on the table – dead.

“Donald pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects – Renalta’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of Sherlock enthusiasts who object to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. Can the shrewd sleuthing duo eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man?”

You know, the Library loves those cozy mysteries where a cat is highly figured. If you must know, humans really can’t solve any problem without our intelligence. In this series, The Cat is a solid black named Moriarity, Gemma’s foe as much as Sherlock’s Moriarity was. The Cat doesn’t help her solve mysteries, but it is fun to see him love on everyone else and attack her at every chance. This mystery was a pretty good one – everybody was suspect until the very end and I didn’t guess who it was (and I like that in a book). We also enjoyed seeing the action take place in a bookshop. It’s our human’s not-so-secret wish to have a bookshop/antique store and we, here at the Library, wouldn’t mind being shop cats!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for a cool book-related murder mystery that takes place in a bookshop!! Loved it!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-locBobbieSue

Elementary, She Read

elementary she read

Elementary, She Read
A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #1

Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books, 2017

From the dust jacket, “Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her great uncle Arthur’s Emporium. The shop—located at 222 Baker Street—specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

“The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good. Vicki Delany’s outstanding series debut is sure to charm the most discerning fan of the great fictional detective.”

What an enjoyable book to read! It was a fast paced read with some good twists and turns. I liked the setting – a bookstore with an adjoining tea room and a pretty New England town. My dislikes are minor – the history between Gemma and the handsome detective confused me at first. I thought that there was a previous book with the two of them in it but once I was satisfied I was only reading history, I wasn’t confused any more (I guess that’s really more of a like than a dislike – so well written was their background story!) I also didn’t like (at first) the fact that the only cat in the series, Moriarty, loved everyone else except for Gemma, whom he thoroughly hated. Then as I thought about it, I realized that Moriarty (the character) would never like to Sherlock Holmes, so it stands to reason that the cat Moriarty wouldn’t like Gemma, the Sherlock-like human. So, that’s also more of a like – another example of fine writing! (I also didn’t like the character of the female detective, but she was very well written to be mean and that’s good!)

As in all the cozies we’ve read, the violence takes place off stage – which we like – and the gory details are left to an absolute minimum. The mystery was good and although my initial suspicions about the murder were correct, I wasn’t absolutely sure until the big reveal. I will be reading the next book in this series.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a cozy atmosphere in which to learn more about the fans of Sherlock Holmes!

Reviewer:

bobbiesue-loc
BobbieSue

 

The Baker Street Translation

baker streetThe Baker Street Translation
 
A Thomas Dunne Book for Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2013
 
Reggie Heath is a barrister in London, circa 1998, leasing the offices at 221-B Baker St for his law practice. Does the address seem familiar? It will if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes! As part of the lease agreement, Reggie must receive and answer all the mail that comes in addressed to Sherlock Holmes. (The standard response is supposed to be that Sherlock is now retired and no longer actively pursuing investigations preferring beekeeping to crime solving.) One day an old Chinese gentleman shows up at his office looking for Holmes and unwittingly involves Reggie, his girlfriend Laura, and her former boyfriend, Buxton, in a murderous plot by anarchists, kidnappers, and toymakers!!
 
When I picked up the book I didn’t realize it was the 3rd of a series and the characters were already established in their literary lives. As I continued to read – thrown off a little by the seemingly insignificant first couple of chapters of seemingly random events – I realized this book was not the first and felt a little short changed. The novel can stand on its own, but only just. To get to know the characters better I would have to go back and read the other books and that’s the trouble with some serials. I find nothing wrong with reading serial novels, but I do prefer if the books are able to stand on their own without their predecessors. Anyway, the mystery is good and had me guessing mostly to the end. Will I go back and read the previous 2 books? Probably not as there are over 200 other books on my to-read list and I didn’t connect with the characters. Especially Reggie – he was particularly annoying because he was too young to be such a curmudgeon. It was a good thing I read the whole thing in about 4 hours because if I had put it down I would have been hard-pressed to pick it back up!
 
Rating  2 paws
 
041716aReviewer: Toby
 
We read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge, 2016
 
Topic: Read a Book on a Library Display (mom found it by wandering around the library!)
 
Click on the logo below to go to our SRC page!!
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Death Cloud

8761456Death Cloud

Andrew Lane
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

Death Cloud is the first book in the “Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins” series; I previously reviewed Rebel Fire which I read out of order. Having read this book makes the first few chapters of Rebel Fire a bit more meaningful. Anyway, this book introduces us a  14 year-old Sherlock who is an outcast at his boarding school, mostly because he is smarter than everyone else – including some of the teachers who resent him. He is looking forward to going home for the Summer of 1868 when his brother, Mycroft, shows up and says their father is on his way to India, his mother and sister are too ill to look after him for the summer and he, Mycroft, is too busy with work. So Sherlock gets booted to a distant relative of the family where he thinks he is going to spend a perfectly boring summer with two old people and one very resentful house keeper. Boy, is he surprised at what happens!!

His new friend, Matty Arnatt, witnesses what looks like a cloud of smoke covering a man’s body and then when it goes away the man is covered with pustules and boils – and is dead. Then Sherlock witnesses the same thing. From there the two boys find out what’s going on and in the process, Sherlock is kidnapped three times, drugged with laudanum, almost burned to death, is beaten up several times, whipped with a metal-tipped bull whip, kills a man and blows up a fort. Quite a boring summer, huh?

The villain is quite pathetic, creepy, amoral and gross. The villain in Rebel Fire was as well. I wonder if this is going to be a theme throughout the series?

I really liked this book and look forward to reading the other seven!! in the series. The story is nonstop action, giving hints of the future detective – and we even learn why he loves bees so much!! This series has been endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, so it meets their high standards. Well-written, well-researched and well-done!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws

cropped-nov-18a-2006.jpgReviewer: Toby

Interview with Andrew Lane (author of Young Sherlock Holmes: Death ...  Andrew Lane

Young Sherlock Holmes Young Sherlock Website

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And of course, I have to include my mancat crush, the very cool Benedict Cumberbatch, as Sherlock Holmes (although Jonny Lee Miller is coming up a close second).