Book Review: A Curious Incident (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #6) by Vicki Delany

  • Title: A Curious Incident
  • Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #6
  • Author: Vicki Delany
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Yes!

From Goodreads:

It’s up to Gemma and Jayne to root out the killer in national bestselling author Vicki Delany’s sixth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery when the winner of a garden tour trophy is left pushing up daisies.

“I am not a Consulting Detective,” Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor’s garden shed.

Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.

Sheila Tierney’s garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club’s early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police’s prime suspect.

Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident

My review:

This was my first venture into Vicky Delany’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series, and it won’t be the last. Very satisfactory reading!

The story opens with Gemma Doyle explaining to Lauren Tierney that no, she is not a consulting detective, and she can’t help Lauren find her cat. One things leads to another, Gemma does find Lauren’s cat, and Lauren thinks Gemma is the best thing since sliced bread. Shortly thereafter, Lauren is again asking Gemma for help – this time, in proving her mother innocent of murder.

I simply adore Gemma! For starters, she owns a bookstore. That right there makes her my kind of people. Also, she calls it like she sees it. I imagine she’s seen as somewhat abrupt by people who don’t know her well (and maybe sometimes by those who do). But her slightly prickly exterior hides a genuinely caring heart. She tries her best not to get involved here, either in finding Lauren’s cat or in clearing her mother, Sheila, of murder. But events seem to conspire to pull her in, and so she investigates to the best of her ability.

I haven’t read the entirety of the series, so maybe I’m missing some backstory on Gemma and Ryan. I can see where he might want her to keep clear of investigations so he can do his job, but sometimes he seemed more callous toward her than the situation would warrant. That rubbed me the wrong way. Gemma can do better. And Estrada is just plain ugly to Gemma, even when Gemma is trying to be kind. I don’t really care for mean girls, and Estrada is one. She gets my dander up every time I read her name on a page.

It was fun seeing Gemma’s relationship with Lauren start to grow. Should the storyline ever allow for Gemma having children of her own, after seeing her with Lauren, I think she’d be a good mom. And it was fun getting to know Mrs. Ramsbatten. It would be a treat to live next door to her.

I’d love to see more of Gemma’s Uncle Arthur. He sounds like quite a character. I’ll have to start at the beginning and see if we get to know him other than knowing that he’s off traveling someplace exciting. And I hope we get to see more of Jayne and Andy and their budding relationship. They are so cute!

This was a delightful read, with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing just about until the big reveal. Four stars!

Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an advance reader copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books that I don’t actually like.

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