by Vicki Delany
Synopsis: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.
The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.
My Review: This is the first in a new series and I enjoyed getting to know Gemma Doyle and her friend Jayne. Gemma manages the Sherlock Emporium in Cape Cod. It is a Sherlock Holmes themed book and souvenir shop. The store is owned by Gemma’s great-uncle Arthur Doyle, who believes he is a distant relative of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Gemma moved to the United States from England after ending her marriage and to help her uncle. Her best friend, Jayne, runs a tea room right next door. Gemma is known for her keen sense of observation and deduction and this is what pulls her into the mystery. When Gemma finds a valuable magazine hidden in her shop she uses her talents to figure out who left it there. When they try to talk to the woman, they find her dead in her hotel room. Of course Gemma becomes the prime suspect, as she has the magazine and found the body. Things are further complicated when her ex-boyfriend shows up as the lead investigator of the case.
The story had a lot of Sherlock Holmes trivia, but this did not overpower the mystery. It was nice getting to know some of the characters in the town and I hope we see more of them in future books. The police were not as free with information as I have seen in other cozies, which was a nice change. Gemma and Jayne play off each other well. It looks like Gemma and Ryan may be rekindling their romance in future books, but only time will tell. I had no idea who the perpetrator was in this story until it was revealed at the end, but it was a fitting ending. I think this is a nice beginning to a new cozy mystery series and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.