Gemma Doyle encounters a very persuasive little girl when Lauren Tierney comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to hire Gemma to find her missing kitten. The kitten is found when Gemma's dog sniffs it out in a neighbor's garden shed, but little Lauren is convinced Gemma is the hero of the day. A few days later, the little girl is back. Her mother has been accused of killing her garden club rival, and Lauren is convinced that Gemma is just the person to save her mother from prison.
Something tells me that Vicki Delany has just as much fun writing her Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries as I do reading them. A Curious Incident is a heady blend of characterization, setting, mystery, and Holmesian references-- and as added extras, readers receive some excellent book recommendations and film critique. Can't go wrong with that now, can you?
The longer this series runs, the more similarities I find between Gemma and me, which doesn't necessarily mean that's why I like these books so much. Gemma and I both keep our workplaces tidy (our houses not so much), we have the same attitudes toward children, toward best friend Jayne's happiness, and toward Lauren's parents. Pitting Gemma against the wiles of little Lauren was a stroke of genius; I actually wouldn't mind seeing the little charmer appear in another book. I might even be mellowing a bit in my advancing years because Moriarty the bookshop cat "might" be growing on me.
Gemma's Uncle Arthur may be a no-show in the series, but I certainly love the way he made up for his pitiful performance in running the business while Gemma was in London in the last book. (Wow!) And... if you're writing a series with strong ties to Sherlock Holmes, you've got to have an Inspector Lestrade. In Gemma's case, those shoes are ably filled by Detective Louise Estrada who finds herself "wondering if there's any way to get [Gemma's] work visa revoked and send [her] back to London."
The mystery is a good one in A Curious Incident, filled with green-thumbed red herrings and gardening trophies, and with the plot and a fantastic cast of characters, I just settled down, opened the book, began to read, and plain flat-out had fun. You will, too.
A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books © 2021
eBook, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #6 Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery
Source: Net Galley