Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

First Line: The Great Detective eyed me.

Gemma Doyle left her native England to come to the Cape Cod town of West London to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium located at 222 Baker Street. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden away on a shelf in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs, Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner. Only problem is, they stumble upon a dead body instead.

Since Gemma is the first suspect the police latch on to, she puts her considerable powers of deduction to work to clear her name. She finds all sorts of viable suspects, but when she and Jayne find themselves at yet another murder scene, Gemma has to work fast before she's locked in jail and the key is thrown away.

Mystery lovers get a bonus when they read Elementary, She Read. Not only do they get a first-rate mystery that keeps you guessing from page one, they also get excellent crime fiction recommendations. 

I've already mentioned that the whodunit is definitely my cup of tea in this first Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery, and I'm happy to report that the Cape Cod setting ranks high, too. 

Gemma Doyle isn't your usual heroine for a cozy mystery series. Normally such sleuths are girl-next-door types, but Gemma has an edginess to her, an abrasiveness. She's an introvert. She has a touch of OCD when it comes to how merchandise is presented on the bookshop shelves. She can be completely thoughtless when it comes to restaurant reservations... but she has an absolutely killing eye for detail. This woman isn't supposed to be your average girl next-door. No, she's much more like Sherlock Holmes himself, and I found myself liking Gemma immensely. 

I also liked the other main character, Gemma's best friend Jayne, and I'm looking forward to meeting Uncle Arthur in a future book. For an elderly man in his nineties, he spent his entire time on the road in Elementary, She Read. Sounds like quite a guy, doesn't he?  

For cat lovers, there's the resident feline, Moriarty, who can't stand Gemma. That's okay-- I can't stand Moriarty. But don't get me going on the subject of allergies and having fur babies in bookshops and libraries. I'd much rather wax poetic about this book and wait impatiently for the next!

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany
 eISBN: 9781683310983
Crooked Lane Books © 2017
eBook, 320 pages

Cozy Mystery, #1 Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley 



  1. Doesn't this sound lovely? Like the sound of Gemma and the whole concept. I'll be reading this one.

  2. What a great setting for a series, Cathy! And Gemma's character sounds terrific. I like Delany's other work very much, so although this is different, I'll bet I'd like this one very much, too.

  3. Oh, gosh, now another book to add to the impossible TBR list. I'm normally not a cozy reader, but this book sounds unique and I like the way the protagonist appears -- abrasive, an introvert with a bit of OCD about her bookstore's presentations. I can relate.

    1. So can I-- except that she puts up with the cat, and I wouldn't!


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