Thursday, January 6, 2022

ARC Review: A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany

A Three Book Problem

Vicki Delany
Series: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery (Book 7)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 11, 2022)

Description: Gemma Doyle is back on the case in bestselling author Vicki Delany's seventh Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when a poisoned dart ends in demise.

It's a crisp, early October weekend, and business is slowing down as fall descends at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and adjacent Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. Wealthy philanthropist and prominent Sherlockian David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House, where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend.

As the chosen caterers, Jayne Wilson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing lavish meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Meanwhile, police detective Ryan Ashburton has taken time away from his duties to assist in the kitchen. It quickly becomes apparent that David's guests don't like each other--or their host. Plus, some of them aren't even acquainted with the adventures of the Great Detective.

Before Gemma can ponder their relationships a poisoned dart sails through the window of the library, presenting Gemma Doyle with a three-book problem.

My Thoughts: Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson have been hired to cater a house party weekend at Suffolk Gardens House for a philanthropist and noted Sherlockian scholar David Masterson. They have brought along Gemma's boyfriend Chief Detective Ryan Ashburton who is acting as an assistant. It is their first visit to the home and their first meeting with Masterson. 

Gemma immediately has some questions. The variety of guests seem strange. Some like her friend Donald are Holmes scholars, but others seem to have no interest in the Great Detective at all. The guests don't seem known to each other and they don't seem to be friends of Masterson either. Add to this that the "staff" turn out to be poor young relatives of Masterson playing the parts of housekeeper and butler. 

The house, which a a weekly rental and is for sale, is less than Gemma would have thought. It's much more poorly constructed and maintained than something for sale in the multimillions. The whole situation is strange and tense. 

When Masterson is murdered by a poisoned dart to the neck while meeting with Gemma and Jayne about meal plans, Gemma finds herself reluctantly assisting the police in tracking down the killer. Gemma is really trying to stay out of police business but her unique insights can only help them.

The story was filled with twisty plot details as more is learned about the weekend guests. There are all sorts of secrets and rivalries among them that are gradually revealed. 

This was an engaging and entertaining cozy mystery that is the seventh book in the series. While reading some of the earlier books might be helpful for insights into Gemma and Ryan's relationship, the book stands alone quite well with enough background information given for understanding. 

Favorite Quote:
Unlike Sherlock Holmes, I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of poisons, their origins and effects, but unlike Sherlock Holmes I have access to the internet. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This sounds like a good book and I may have to consider reading it. I will add it to my shelf.

  2. I picked this up mainly due to the Sherlockian background. I enjoyed this one.


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