Sunday, January 28, 2018

The West End Comes to West London

A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery # 3
Vicki Delany
Crooked Lane Books
February 13, 2018

It's summer on Cape Cod, and everyone in West London is excited about the opening production of The West London Theater Festival. The play will be The Hound of the Baskervilles and a famous star, Sir Nigel Bellingham, has been hired to play the lead. Gemma Doyle, the proprietor of The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, is looking forward to all the new business that will be brought into the shop. Gemma's business partner, Jayne Wilson, is excited by the chance to cater the tea given for the stars, volunteers, and ticket-buying public. Jayne's mother, Leslie, was a minor actress on Broadway in her youth, so she is a volunteer for the event. Sir Nigel, however, turns out to be over the hill as far as acting is concerned. Not only that, he is a nasty, abusive drunk, who goes out of his way to offend everyone. When Gemma discovers Sir Nigel's body after the tea, and a clue which might implicate Leslie, she once again starts to investigate on her own. Detective Ryan Ashburton, a former flame of Gemma's, and his partner, Louise Estrada warn her off. Gemma, of course, pays no attention. There are plenty of suspects;  the ambitious understudy, a fading actress, and Bellingham's downtrodden personal assistant. But the police are homing in on Jayne's mom.

The Cat of the Baskervilles is another enjoyable installment in prolific Vicki Delaney's series. Gemma is a likable character, despite her bluntness and stubborn determination to go her own way no matter what. The mystery is well-crafted and kept me guessing with plot twists.
The Cape Cod setting in summer, the characters, and the romance between Ryan and Gemma, which seems to be heating up again, make for an enjoyable read.

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING- 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4

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