“My sister Phillipa Doyle is a minor functionary in the British government.”
Of all the cosy mystery series set in libraries or bookshops that I’ve tried (and there’s been a few!), this is by far my favourite. It retains focus on the mystery, with the personal stuff kept as a background – perfect! Main character, Gemma Doyle (probably no relation to the famous author), is highly intelligent and logical, and the situations she ends up investigating feel quite natural for her to do so.
I’ll forgive the slight ‘hmm’ of having so many of the usual cast join in her trip to London for this, the latest in the series that began with Elementary, She Read. A Sherlock Holmes convention is the flimsy reason for dragging not just her best friend (for a holiday), boyfriend (to show off her home town), but also another two vague hangers-on. But, that’s a minor blip in an otherwise lovely cosy mystery, decent on the mystery, not too distracted with love interests and/or pets.
When someone is murdered during the convention, suspicion falls on the dazed man found standing over the body. Unfortunately, this happens to be Gemma’s father, a retired police officer. Worse, the detective leading the investigation has a grudge against his former colleague, whom he’d be delighted to see charged with the crime. So of course Gemma’s going to poke her nose into things.
The story leans quite heavily, I think, on the Benedict Cumberbatch adaptation, with Gemma’s sister, Pippa, being quite the Mycroft. But it’s very aware of its inspiration and uses it well, with enough differences and ‘extras’.
Recommend the series for those who enjoy a less fluffy but still cosy mystery.
NetGalley eARC: 336 pages / 22 chapters
First published: 7th January 2020
Series: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery book 5
Read from 17th-10th August 2019
My rating: 8/10