Thursday, March 16, 2017

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookstory Mystery by Vicki Delany


Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street--specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche.

When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

This mystery has a good mix of background, food and interesting characters. Next door to the Bookstore, we have Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room so prepare for mouth-watering descriptions. The luminous view of a water- front Restaurant adds to the blend, as does the hint of a past romance. 


We are led step by step through the passionate and at times frenzied world of Collectors. But would one of them actually have been desperate enough to commit murder...not once but twice for a rare object?

Gemma Holmes, an Englishwoman, cannot help but sense things. Like her Counterpart, Sherlock Holmes, she is good at following small clues... that no-one else would notice. When the Beeton's Christmas Annual is stuck on a shelf in her Bookshop...Gemma decides to track down the Owner. The red herrings in this story catapult Readers to a surprise ending and Murderer. But isn't that the way we like to shadow in our mysteries- fellow Sherlock's?


Vicki Delany does a great job at putting Holmes in this story. Her characters are a blend of amusing and eccentric. To give you an idea- the Cat's name is Moriarty. I could not wait to read this book as I am a huge fan of Conan Doyle and this cozy was a welcome addition to my Holmes- related Mysteries.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Murder Most Pekoe by Laura Childs

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by  Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued.  As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.


Laura Childs, in her eighteenth book, continues her successful Tea Shop Series... with an added dollop of murder set in Charleston. The first Chapter sets the tone with a "Rat Tea" for a Murder. Who among the group of prominent Suspects had a motive? Theodosia Browning, ends up on a murder hunt, along with her staff member and friend, Drayton... at the request of the victim's wife.  She also runs a successful Tea Shop, which allows us to be treated to Child's wonderful research on Tea. Some of the scenes made my mouth water as I am a great Tea Lover. I suspect many who read this series fix their Teapot of leaves while they read.

The descriptions are lovely of Charleston and the roads that make up the historical district. I have in my mind's eye those same charming buildings while I read Child's very apt sketches.

But the heart of any mystery is the "who done it." Laura Child's is good at building the mystery- throwing in red herrings, so that at the end I was completely surprised. The pace is slow enough, so that if like me, you are a novice to the series, you can quickly pick up the thread of the characters.

This may have been the first book in the series I have read but it won't be the last.