Monday, March 13, 2017

Elementary, She Read

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  I spent the time relaxing after being sick last week. Vicki Delany, the author I am featuring today, also writes A Year-Round Christmas Mystery series and A Constable Molly Smith Mystery series.  Under the name Eva Gates, she writes A Lighthouse Library Mystery series. You can follow her on Facebook and Amazon.

Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany is the first book in the new A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series.  Gemma Doyle moved to West London, Massachusetts five years ago, after the breakup of her marriage.  Her Uncle Arthur had been running the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop that he opened on his own, but his wanderlust is returning.   Gemma became part owner of the bookshop at 222 Baker Street and took over the day-to-day running of the store.  Since the store cannot support itself carrying just Sherlock Holmes books, she added movies, knickknacks and other Holmes related merchandise (and added Emporium to the store name).  Gemma is also half owner in Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room (next door) with her friend, Jayne Wilson.  One day while a tour group is in the shop (after having tea), a little mousy woman comes in with a white shopping bag.  Gemma watches her until her attention is diverted by customers with their purchases.  After the shop is closed for the day, Gemma checks the area where she last saw the woman.  She finds a rare copy of Beeton’s Christmas Annual from 1887 (a magazine) hidden among the books.  The white bag the woman was carrying is found in the trash along with a postcard from a local hotel.  Jayne and Gemma head to the hotel to see if they can find the owner.  They approach her hotel room and find the door ajar.  Upon entering the room, they find her dead on the bed.  Gemma sends Jayne to call 911 while she checks out the room for clues and snaps a few photos.  The police are skeptical about how Gemma and Jayne found the body.  Ryan Ashburton, West London homicide detective and Gemma’s ex-boyfriend, knows how Gemma’s mind works, but his partner, Detective Louise Estrada does not.  Gemma determines it is up to her to find the killer and clear her name.  Her observation skills are going to be put to the test in Elementary, She Read!

Elementary, She Read was one book I was really looking forward to reading.  It sounded like it would be right up my alley.  Unfortunately, the author made a very unlikeable main character.  Gemma Doyle believes she has superior observation skills and likes to flaunt it.  In contradiction, Gemma will promise to do something and then forgets.  She can keep the store inventory in her head, but forgets to make a simple phone call (for instance).  She treats her employee shabbily.  I found the writing to be very detail oriented. The readers are provided detail descriptions on people, rooms, and the many items that are sold in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium.  I give Elementary, She Read 3 out of 5 stars.  The detectives (actually the whole police department) are maligned.  Detective Louisa Estrada comes across as a villain.  Ryan tells Gemma (more than once) to stay out of the investigation.  He then shares information with her.  I know this is fiction, but I doubt this would happen in reality (especially if the person in question is a suspect).  I found information to be repeated especially the price of the rare magazine.  I would love to tell you that the mystery was perplexing, but it was not.  The culprit was easily identified.  Since the murder occurred early in the book, the story seemed long.  I wish there had been a little more of a lead in to the crime.   I enjoyed the description of Beeton’s Christmas Annual.  This captured my interest and led me to a search for more details on it. Elementary, She Read had potential with the premise, but the character of Gemma just ruined it for me.  I wish the author had made Jayne the narrator for the story (or not made Gemma so obnoxious).  Elementary, She Read will be out on Tuesday, March 14.

May each of you have a special Monday.  I am currently reading Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver.  I will be reviewing Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio tomorrow.  See you then.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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