I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The show is coming to town on Cape Cod. The West London Theater Festival is putting on a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Gemma Doyle is excited and participating with her friend Jayne Wilson, whose mother, Leslie, just happens to be volunteering with the company. Leslie arranges a fundraising tea party at the home of the festival organizer, catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a rousing success, but Sir Nigel Bellingham, the famous star cast as the lead of Sherlock, goes missing. And Gemma finds him at the bottom of the cliff. Dead.
Before the tea, Sir Nigel had come by the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, only for Gemma to realize that he’s not at all suited to the role. But as Gemma and Jayne investigate, the list of suspects just grows longer. Long past his prime, Sir Nigel was second to a younger actor who had first been given the role. The festival’s executive director also expressed that he had been hired over her objections. Then there are the slew of people to whom Sir Nigel was rude. They all have motive, but then a scrap of Leslie’s apron caught on a bush by Sir Nigel’s body is found. And the police are set to pounce as she becomes suspect #1.
It’s up to Gemma and Jayne to team up again and clear Jayne’s mother’s name in The Cat of the Baskervilles, the delightful third Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.
***2019 The Summer of Sherlock***
The third volume of this series and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like Emma Doyle much as a main character. I understand that being more observant than others is a trait that links her to the Great Detective, but her bluntness and lack of understanding of other people doesn’t endear her to me. What I do enjoy are the details of her relationships with Ryan and Grant, her friendship with Jayne, and the ongoing saga of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop.
Delany writes a decent cozy mystery. She plants appropriate red herrings and throws in small twists & turns, making the reading experience quite enjoyable. I can’t help, however, feeling sorry for Emma’s dog, Violet. I’m not a dog person, but even I feel like the poor beast is left alone at home an awful lot. Although Delany assures us that Emma loves Violet, sometimes actions speak louder than words--it seems like the dog gets short shrift on many, many evenings. My other bugaboo is Detective Louise Estrada, who seems to dislike Emma even more than I do. In fact, to an unreasonable extent. In small communities like West London, it just isn’t that strange to have the same people involved in multiple community activities and her over-done suspicions of Emma are just unrealistic.
Despite my complaints, I did enjoy the mystery and I’ve requested the next book in the series. I’m interested to see how Delany moves the story arc forward, whether I admire her main character or not.