Thursday, January 7, 2021

ARC Review: A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany

A Curious Incident

Vicki Delany
Series: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery (Book 6)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 12, 2021)

Description: It's up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany's sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies.

I am not a Consulting Detective," Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor's garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.

Sheila Tierney's garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club's early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police's prime suspect.

Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.

My Thoughts: Gemma Doyle tries to convince eleven-year-old Lauren Tierney that she isn't a consulting detective and can't help her find her lost kitten Snowball. But Lauren's aunt Irene has told Lauren all kinds of stories about her friend. Gemma really doesn't want to help Lauren but she also doesn't want to disappoint a child. She promises to keep on the look out for the cat. Imagine her surprise when she locates the cat while walking her dog Violet. 

So, naturally, when Lauren's mother is accused of murdering her rival in the West London Garden Club, Lauren comes to ask for Gemma's help. The only problem is that Gemma isn't at all convinced that Lauren's mother Sheila didn't kill Anna Wentworth. She didn't get a very good impression of Sheila when she returned Lauren's cat. Her opinion is that Sheila is both self-centered and neglects her daughter. 

Her uncertainty of Sheila's innocence is only one problem. Things are going better with her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton. She doesn't want to jeopardize their relationship by interfering in his case. However, her curiosity is aroused and she keeps stumbling onto clues that her boyfriend doesn't have. 

There are plenty of other suspects. Sheila's husband has been accused of having an affair with Anna and he is certainly estranged from Sheila. Than there is Anna's husband who has been out of work for a year but still manages to make frequent trips to Las Vegas. Or maybe the gardener who helped with Anna's award-winning garden was just a little too close to Anna. 

The more Gemma investigates the more secrets she uncovers and someone has certainly noticed. When her friend Jayne drinks some lemonade intended for Gemma, she becomes very ill and needs to have her stomach pumped and is hospitalized. Gamma becomes even more determined to find out who murdered Anna.

This was an engaging story. I really like Gemma who has a talent for observation when watching others but isn't equally knowledgeable about herself. I like her relationship (or lack of one) with bookstore cat Moriarty and her devotion to her dog Violet. 

This is the sixth book in the series and there are some hints about earlier cases. I don't think that it is necessary to have read earlier books to enjoy this one. I think that many people will want to catch up on Gemma's other adventures after meeting her here.

Favorite Quote:
"...someone snuck into Sheila Tierney's garden in the middle of the night Saturday and cut every one of her roses down to bare branches. They wrecked the rhododendrons, beheaded the begonia, decimated the daisies, slashed the snapdragons, pillaged the pansies. And tore up part of the lawn and knocked over the statues for good measure."

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review. Author and book both new to me.


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