cover image A Three Book Problem: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery

A Three Book Problem: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery

Vicki Delany. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64385-798-5

Delany’s enjoyable seventh Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery (after 2021’s A Curious Incident) finds Gemma Doyle, the owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Cape Cod, helping a wealthy devotee of the canon host a Sherlockian weekend at a house rented for the occasion. Aided by her best friend, Jayne Wilson, the manager of Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, Gemma arranges for people to pose as Victorian servants and provides catering and Sherlockian paraphernalia. Gemma soon picks up on undercurrents of tension among the guests, overhearing snatches of conversations that she gives further scrutiny to after one attendee is murdered. The homicide method, a poisoned dart, is straight out of Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four. Gemma’s discovery that the victim was the author of a new theory about the canon’s master blackmailer, Charles Augustus Milverton, proves crucial to the subsequent police inquiry. While the plot line has been done better before, Delany does a decent job of capturing the feel and discourse of a gathering of Sherlockians. This is her best series entry to date. Agent: Kimberly Lionetti, Bookends Literary. (Jan.)