Thursday, February 8, 2018

ARC Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vicki Delany

The Cat of the Baskervilles
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries (Book 3)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: Gemma Doyle would be content to manage her bookstore during the summer theater season. After all, The Hound of the Baskervilles will be the featured production which should bring lots of business to her Sherlock Holmes themed store. But when the has-been famous actor brought in to play Sherlock is found dead at the bottom of a cliff and her friend Jayne's mother is the last one to see him alive, Gemma has to get involved.

Gemma is very observant and quick to put clues together. This does not endear her to police detective Louise Estrada who is automatically suspicious whenever Gemma gets near a case. Former boyfriend detective Ryan Ashburton is more used to Gemma's insights.

There are lots of wonderful suspects. It could be part of Sir Nigel's entourage. Is it the mousy personal assistant? The understudy who wishes that he had the role of Sherlock? The financial backer who didn't know how much of a has-been Sir Nigel has become? The director who sees him messing up her production? It is the odd man with the man-bun who is drifting around the periphery of the production?

When the understudy - Eddie Barker - starts dating Jayne, Gemma becomes even more suspicious of him. Gemma has to prove that Jayne's mother Leslie had nothing to do with Sir Nigel's death but she is the holder of a number of secrets about their shared past.

I enjoyed this mystery. I liked all the characters. I was glad to see that Gemma and Ryan's relationship was improving. I like that Gemma is like a female Sherlock Holmes in her ability to observe and deduce from small clues. I like that Gemma is the practical owner of a bookstore who is content with her business despite her shop assistant's many ideas to expand the business.

This is the third book in an engaging series which will appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes and readers of cozy mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
The actor extended a vein-lined, liver spot-encrusted hand. I took it in mine. His grip put in me in mind of the last piece of cod at the fishmonger's at the end of a hot day. The scent of tobacco surrounded him like an aura.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


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