Body on Baker Street (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #2)
by Vicki Delany (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review
This second book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore series begins as a prima donna author demands that Gemma Doyle make her bookstore available for a last minute signing event. Unfortunately, the author, who is famous for a series of Holmes-inspired novels revolving around the fictional romantic relationship between the original Sherlock Holmes and Mrs. Hudson, attracts plenty of attention, both positive and negative, even before the day of the signing.
Gemma Doyle, British expatriate, lives in West London, Maine with her Uncle Arthur, a character frequently mentioned but rarely seen, where the pair own a bookstore on 222 Baker Street. The bookstore is dedicated to various versions of Sherlock Holmes literature and other works inspired by Conan Doyle’s original work, as well as collectibles and memorabilia. Naturally, this is the perfect location to launch a new book based on the characters of Hudson and Holmes.
Unfortunately for Renalta Van Markoff, whose name is on the books she may or may not have written and whose ideas she may or may not have stolen from another aspiring author; this signing will be her last as she drops dead in the middle of the store. There are no shortage of suspects in the murder of this mystery author, including her PA, who is actually her daughter, her marketing advisor, and her editor, not to mention multiple obsessive and disgruntled fans and critics of her work.
The character of Gemma Doyle is portrayed as a modern-day female Sherlock Holmes, and she certainly shares some characteristics with the more famous detective. Gemma is an intellectual-she sees things analytically which sometimes causes problems with others as she comes across as unfeeling or cold. She is aware of her issues, though, and allows her Watson, Jayne Wilson, co-owner of the tea room next door, to be her moderating influence.
Other relationships in this cozy mystery series seem a little more contrived, though, notably Gemma’s antagonistic battles with Detective Louise Estrada, who resents Gemma’s participation in cases as a civilian as well as her former relationship with Detective Ryan Ashburton, Estrada’s partner and Gemma’s former boyfriend. While it is clear Gemma and Ryan still harbor feelings for each other, Louise’s hostility seems a little over the top. It is unclear whether Louse is just feeling professionally threatened or if she has romantic feelings for Ryan as well.
Relationship issues aside, this is a very entertaining cozy mystery series and this particular book had a number of twists and turns that made reading it a delight. I give this book four stars and recommend it to fans of the cozy genre, as well as fans of Sherlock Holmes-inspired works.