The Cat of the Baskervilles


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.



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!



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!