Tag Archives: Vicki Delany

Amy Caudill’s Reviews: Body on Baker Street

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.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Elementary, She Read

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1)
by Vicki Delany (Goodreads Author)


Amy Caudill‘s review

  

The first installment in this lovely cozy mystery series features Gemma Doyle, who may or may not be related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and is part-owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore and Emporium at 221 Baker St., West London, Massachusetts.  This series, set in the present, contains many allusions to both Victorian literature and “Sherlockians,” fans of the great detective.

As a fan of Sherlock myself, I was intrigued by the concept of a modern day version of the detective series, and I love that the main protagonist, Gemma, while not actually a fan herself, seemingly has much in common with Sherlock Holmes.  She is extremely observant and direct to the point of bluntness, facts which her friends tolerate and understand but strangers sometimes find unsettling or offensive.

Her partner Jayne, co-owner of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, next door to the bookstore, is pulled into playing Gemma’s reluctant John Watson, as Gemma investigates the murder of the owner of a potentially valuable first edition print of one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories that is left hidden inside her store.

With a supporting cast of characters including a local reporter named Irene, a former love interest for Gemma in Detective Ryan Ashburton, a rival/foil in another Detective, Louise Estrada, and a comic relief character in Jayne’s boyfriend Robbie; author Vicki Delany has set the stage for a rich “universe” to draw on in furthering this series.

The mystery itself involves greed, theft, inheritance and multiple murders; and includes a number of suspects; though the true killer isn’t revealed till nearly the end of the story.  Gemma conducts her own investigation, alongside and in spite of warnings from the police, and has plenty of false starts and leads that don’t pan out before the exciting conclusion, which contains the only scene where the action is present and not just a dead body after the fact.

The author also included numerous references to books written in the Holmesian style by other authors, both classic and modern, as well as other detective stories from the Victorian and Edwardian era, which is only appropriate as one of the main settings is a bookstore.  Unfortunately, the distraction was too great for me as I stopped reading multiple times to get on Amazon and find out more about the different books mentioned!

Overall, this book contained a number of interesting characters and an absorbing plot, so I will look forward to exploring more in the series.  I give this book 4.5 stars.