sherlock holmes

Book Review: A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

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A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #4)A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

A Scandal in Scarlet is the 4th book in the ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series by Vicki Delany. I was introduced to this cozy after reading a different series written by the author (Christmas All Year Round) and am very glad I checked it out. Delany is a wonderful writer whose characters, plots, and settings are a prime example of why I love cozy mysteries.

In this book, Gemma notices a fire in a nearby museum while out walking the dog. To help pay for repairs, she and Jayne host the museum’s auction, but one of the members is killed just before it begins. Was it a rival member who didn’t like the poor woman’s success? Her husband or his previous wife and kids? The nasty shop owner Gemma knows? A burglary gone wrong? Lots of angles for the two Sherlock-wannabees to investigate all the while dating a local cop, chef, old friend, and rare book dealer. Then we must not forget running the tea room, fighting with the store owner across the street who just likes to be mean, and taking care of the cat and dog.

All-in-all, the setting is my favorite in this series. While many of the characters are good, it’s reading about many Sherlock Holmes items that keeps me coming back for more. Delany builds the best descriptions into her plot, effortlessly, so you feel transported into the story. I’m even thrilled when it’s a few pages of narrative or description without much action. It’s just that kind of a book to immerse yourself into.

The mystery was good. Not the best she’s written, but full of red herrings and a clear reason why someone was killed. The second murder threw me for a loop, but that’s just icing on the cake for solving the first one, right? :O Looking forward to the next edition!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles Vicki Delany

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The Cat of the Baskervilles (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #3)The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

When an opportunity to win a free ARC of the 4th book in Vicki Delany’s ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series was offered up earlier in the week, I got my derriere in gear and ordered the 3rd book, the Cat of the Baskervilles, so I could get current. It was an unplanned read for this month but one I’m glad I found time to squeeze in. Let’s hope I win the chance to get an early ARC of the next book.

Delany’s a wonderful writer with a great balance of humor, levity, sincerity, mystery, trickery, and suspense. In this caper, Gemma wants to protect her friend Jayne’s mother, Leslie, who’s potentially guilty of murdering an actor she once knew. One of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock plays is coming to West London (US, not UK), and there’s a stop at Gemma’s Sherlockian bookshop. Unfortunately, during a tea party before the play opens, the lead actor is found at the bottom of a cliff. Suicide? Accidental from being drunk? Or murder? Gemma of course needs to investigate. Detective Ryan wants her to stay away. His partner wants to kill Gemma… perhaps a future plot, Ms. Delany? LOL

I really enjoy the relationships and side stories in this series. Between the always off-and-gallivanting Uncle Arthur (yes, named after the author), the nasty but lovable feline Moriarty (so aptly named), and the shenanigans in the love lives and interfering neighbors to Gemma and Jayne’s stores, it’s always a great read. This book is a traditional cozy, but at about the 85% mark, the case is closed in a way I wouldn’t expect. Surely, it couldn’t be all fluff for the last few chapters… I knew there was a twist coming, and then BAM, it’s dropped. Kudos to Delany for the nice fun surprise. Is it time for my ARC of #4 to arrive yet? Oh please, reading gods…

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

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Body on Baker Street (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #2)Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite features of the cozy mystery genre is the ability to weave together multiple themes and story-lines that carry over throughout each successive book in the series. In ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series by Vicki Delany we have just that and so much more. I have read a couple of the author’s series and find myself on a kick to catch up on them all in the next few months so that by 2019, I’m ready for the latest releases. I just finished Body on Baker Street and give it 4.5 stars for its clever plot, witty dialog, and memorable characters.

Gemma and Jayne run a book shop and tea room with an ode to Sherlock Holmes. Gemma’s got an on-again/off-again relationship with a local detective, but it also puts her in conflict with another detective who doesn’t like Gemma very much because of her amateur sleuth activities. It makes for good conflict. In this caper, a famed author holds a signing at the store, but all is not as it seems. The author isn’t truly the author, and her closely-kept staff have bigger connections than we initially realize. The books compromise some characters in the Sherlock Holmes canon which angers a few readers and fans, but it also ignites some passionate ones who love the changes. Which person took their emotions too far and killed the author with a lovely dose of poison?

As characters, Gemma and Jayne are both likable and well-drawn. Jayne is the more reasonable one as Gemma thinks of things like breaking into a policewoman’s desk to find clues. That’s guts! The cat wandering the store makes for fun antics. The literary tones and references always make me smile. I enjoy the side stories and always look forward to the red herring clues. With at least 5 or 6 possible suspects, each has a true motive and were near the tainted water bottle. It makes for a solid mystery where it’s less about alibis and more about who couldn’t help themselves but commit murder.

Delany’s style is always fun and easy to read. It’s got chops, too. I enjoy the story’s developmental progress as it draws us in. I am reading the next book in the series in a few weeks so I’ll be ready for the one she is about to publish – number 4, A Study in Scarlet!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

TV Show Review: Sherlock

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4+ of 5 stars to the Netflix series “Sherlock.” I’ve only watched the first episode of the first season, but I’m already hooked. Let’s get to the details:

Story

 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson… classic detectives from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary mystery novels… but re-imagined in the 21st century with computers, cell phones and cars. Sherlock is a “consulting detective” on the police force. Watson is a war hero doctor looking for a job and a place to live. By the end of the first episode, they live together and fight crime side by side.

Sherlock Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Who wouldn’t want their detective to be a such a handsome devil. He’s got the expected charming arrogance, but when you see it brought to life, you’ll easily fall for him.

Dr. John Watson is played by Martin Freeman. He’s quiet and shy, but has a certain hint of risk and danger about him. He’ll also send a few shivers in your direction.

Strengths

  1. The characters are well drawn and depicted. Sherlock’s mannerisms and style are evident and on target. The setting and plot are captivating. The dialogue is witty. You want to reach into the TV and smack them both on occasion, but then you just want to sit down for a cup of tea or brandy with them, too.
  2. There are many versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories that have been filmed, and I’ve only see a few; however, both the lead actors have fantastic methods for transforming characters from written words to the TV screen. You watch to see how they will handle each action or story; it’s as much as about the portrayal of classic heros as it is about the mystery.

Suggestions

Part of the charm of the stories written about 125 years ago is lost when re-appropriated to modern times. It’s still very strong, but I’d love to see a little bit of the past weaved in to ensure we feel transported into the intrigue and cleverness of the stories. Maybe we’ll find about some of their ancestors… and they investigate a century old crime!

Final Thoughts

I’m glad there are only 3 or 4 episodes per season, as you don’t want to sit and watch them all in one day… catch one every few weeks, in between reading some of the actual Sherlock stories. Get immersed.

Review: Elementary, She Read

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Elementary, She ReadMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Vicki Delany‘s Elementary, She Read, the first in a new “Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery” series. I’ve read a few other books by this author, jumping at the chance to read this new series, as I really enjoy her ability to immerse you in the setting of a quaint and charming little town full of memorable characters. And it did not disappoint.


Story

Gemma is a transplant from England, now residing in West London on Cape Cod in Massachusetts as part-owner of her uncle’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop and new friend’s traditional tea shop. When a busload of mystery loving grannies invade their stores, and a rare edition of a magazine turns up hiding on the bookshelves, Gemma knows something is not right. She tracks down one of the women, but finds her murdered in her hotel room. The police suspect Gemma, as her story of “Good Samaritan to return the magazine” cannot possibly be true. When she learns the woman was serving as a nurse in a very rich family of known Sherlock Holmes book collectors, the story gets even more puzzling. But it’s when another death puts her back in the spotlight that Gemma begins to worry she may be put in jail for a crime she had nothing to do with. Using her own highly-skilled research and investigation techniques, Gemma solves the case but almost goes down as one of the victims.

Includes a few side stories with her friend Jayne, her former boyfriend the cop and a few interesting neighborhood characters who either love her or hate her! Oh yeah, and her dog and cat who are quite a hoot.


Strengths

I always enjoy the first in a new series… to see how the author introduces characters, builds a setting and invests in the themes and motifs which will guide the future books. Vicky Delany does not disappoint, as this one looks to be as strong as the “Year Round Christmas” series. Delany has a knack for creating vivid and personable characters. Sometimes you don’t really care for the character, but not because the character is poorly written — it’s always because she packs a punch in finding ways for you to hate people and love them at the same time. That’s how I felt about the new detective who showed up to crack the case. The woman must have a soft spot somewhere, but Gemma can’t find it. And I wanted to slap the cop on many occasions for her rude behavior. Good writing makes you feel that about someone in a story.

Sherlock Holmes has been done before. But this is done in a lighthearted way, such that it’s not over-the-top, rarely boring and usually well-integrated. You learn a little about Doyle, 19th century England and various other historical tidbits all the while enjoying the differences between American and Britain. Plus there are several goofy moments where you can picture the scene happening at some point in your own life. Might even make you want to become a Sherlock-follower yourself!


Suggestions

The book was consistent, just like all of the rest of Delany’s novels that I’ve read before. It’s a good read, full of great characters, but… I want to see Delany push it a little further next time and have a very complex mystery with more players about the town. Introduce more families, show more connections, bring a bit more of England to Massachusetts… Transport us somewhere different where we want to find ourselves lost in. We’re right on the cusp, and I’m betting book two in this series will do it.


Final Thoughts

Good plot. Fun characters. Clever writing. Everything you need in a basic murder mystery with a splash of something new and exciting. A definite read for fans of the author and genre, and a good intro to the cozy for those not ever having the pleasure of encountering one before. Plus… who doesn’t love a book about famous authors and detectives?

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