Monday, September 11, 2017

Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany follows up the first fun Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, Elementary, She Read, with the equally delightful Body on Baker Street. Gemma Doyle is becoming one of my favorite amateur sleuths, although I don't think I'd want to live with her.

As owner/manager of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street in West London, Massachusetts, Gemma is a smart enough businesswoman to agree with author Renalta Van Markoff wants to appear at the bookshop. Renalta may be a little over-the-top and demanding, but her controversial Holmes and Watson books are bestsellers. When the day of the book signing arrives, over a hundred show up at the bookstore. The majority are excited to hear Renalta in person, but after she slaps down a confrontational customer, she keels over dead. With the police already in attendance for crowd control, it only takes minutes for Gemma to suggest that Renalta was murdered.

While one police officer is always suspicious of Gemma's methods, the detective she once dated knows she has an uncanny grasp of mysteries. While Gemma lacks social skills, she has a Sherlockian ability to analyze situations and find the truth. While she sidesteps around the police, she questions Renalta's entourage and several wacky characters who pursued the author. Even when she's in danger herself, Gemma is determined to find the truth.

Gemma Doyle. She's probably an exasperating person to deal with, but she's as perceptive as Holmes himself, and she lacks the same ability to understand people. It's her friends and dog who make her human, while her antagonistic relationship with Moriarty, the bookshop cat, adds humor.

Vicki Delany's modern interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, combined with a bookshop, is charming and fun. Body on Baker Street can easily stand on its own. Even if you haven't yet read Elementary, She Read, this book will introduce you to Gemma, her friends and her foil.

Vicki Delany's website is www.vickidelany.com

Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683312994 (hardcover), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.