Monday, January 10, 2022

A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany

First Line: "You're sure we didn't go through a warp in the space-time continuum and end up in Jolly Old England?"
Now that it's October, the non-stop tourist season on Cape Cod is over, which lets Jayne Wilson accept a catering job at Suffolk Gardens House. Wealthy Sherlockian David Masterson has rented the mansion to treat his friends to a typical English country house weekend and some Holmesian banter.
Needing her assistants to run Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room while she's gone, Jayne has enlisted the help of her best friend Gemma Doyle and Gemma's boyfriend, police detective Ryan Ashburton. 
As Jayne, Ryan, and Gemma start preparing meals and setting up Sherlockian books and games for the entertainment, it rapidly becomes apparent that Masterson's guests neither like him nor the other guests. What's even more curious, most of them haven't got a clue about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or the Great Detective. So... why are they attending a Sherlock Holmes weekend? But when a poisoned dart comes sailing through the library window, Gemma and her friends have a lot more to worry about than the guest list.  


Although my reading tastes have been moving away from cozy mysteries for the past couple of years, there are some favorite series that I will always make a point of reading. Vicki Delany's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series is one of them, and A Three Book Problem is yet another strong entry. 
Something tells me that Delany enjoys creating mysteries for Gemma Doyle to solve. Gemma has more of an edge to her than most cozy main characters, but never fear! the edge never borders on obnoxious; it's the perfect one to induce readers to smile (and I do, a lot). Something else that makes me smile? The way the author toys with us when Gemma's Uncle Arthur is mentioned. Good old Uncle Arthur is the owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and he sounds like quite the character. There's only one problem: readers have yet to meet him; he's always traveling and leaving Gemma to run the show. In A Three Book Problem, Uncle Arthur is on the guest list. Will he be there? Sorry, you're going to have to find that out for yourselves!

The drawing room of Suffolk Gardens House is filled with an excellent cast of suspects, and I did find it rather difficult to deduce whodunit, which is always a plus. Jayne whips up menus that gave me hunger pangs, and Gemma is always fun to follow around. (Jayne might not always agree.) If you haven't sampled this series before, you should be able to start here without feeling confused, but don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for the rest of the books in this series once you've turned the last page.

A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany
eISBN: 9781643857992
Crooked Lane Books © 2022
eBook, 320 pages
Cozy Mystery, #7 Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


  1. I give Vicki Delany a lot of credit, Cathy, for creating such a variety of different series, including this one. For my money, you can't go wrong with a bookshop setting, and I like the way Delany crafts her characters. She adds in wit here and there, too, which I think adds to the whole thing. Glad you enjoyed this one.

  2. I don't read a lot of cozy mysteries any more but this one does sound intriguing and I've seen several reviews of it around the blog world lately.

  3. I don't read a lot of cozies, but I do like the sound of this one. Maybe it's that awesome title. :)

  4. I finished this book last week and found it just right for after the holidays!


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