Wednesday, November 7, 2018

ARC Review: A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

A Scandal in Scarlet
Author: Vicki Delany
Series: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery (Book 4)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (November 13, 2018)

Description: Gemma and Jayne donate their time to raise money for the rebuilding of a burned out museum―but a killer wants a piece of the auction.

Walking her dog Violet late one night, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear.

Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups―a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago?

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

My Thoughts: Gemma gets involved in her next mystery when she and Jayne offer to host an auction to raise funds for the local museum and the museum board chair Kathy Lamb who is the auctioneer is found strangled to death in the room where the auction items are being stored. Gemma doesn't really want to get involved. Her investigations have gotten in the way of her romance with Detective Ryan Ashburton before and she doesn't really have a stake in this one. None of her friends are suspects.

Maureen, who is the owner of a business across the street, becomes a suspect when she has a loud argument with Kathy in front of those waiting for the auction about her late and ugly donation. Maureen demands that Gemma clear her name despite the fact that she is anything but a friend of Gemma's. Gemma isn't interested in helping her, but her curiosity is aroused and she begins investigating.

There are any number of suspects. Kathy's ex-husband and his new rich wife are at the auction and could be involved. The whole politics of the museum also provides suspects in the ousted chair and the obsessed volunteer who was on the verge of being fired. Even two local and rival yacht clubs get involved as suspects. After all, some believe the the new wife of her ex-husband already is guilty of the murder of her first husband and may have wished to get rid of Kathy out of jealousy.

This was an entertaining cozy mystery with lots of details about Gemma's Sherlock Holmes bookstore and a number of mystery books in it. Gemma is a great character who prides herself on her attention to detail and ability to identify criminals much like Sherlock Holmes himself.

Favorite Quote:
The point being, Maureen collected enemies the same way people collected Sherlock Holmes mugs or everything that had Benedict Cumberbatch's face on it. With pride.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your review. This sounds delightful and such a charming cover. Been wanting to read her series.


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