Book Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery) by Vicki Delany

The Cat of the Baskervilles is the second book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series by Vicki Delany. While reading the series in order gives readers a better grasp of characters, and their dynamics in the small town, I think that newcomers to the series could enjoy this book almost as much as those that have read the first book in the series.
Legendary stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham arrives on Cape Cod to star in a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles put on by the West London Theater Festival. When Sir Nigel, some of the cast, and the director visit the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop at 222 Baker Street, Gemma Doyle realizes that Sir Nigel is not at all suited to the role. He is long past his prime and an old drunk to boot. The cast, in particular the much younger actor who previously had the role, are not happy, but the show must go on. Before the play opens, Leslie Wilson, mother of Gemma’s best friend Jayne, arranges a fundraising afternoon tea to be catered by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. The tea is a huge success, but when it’s time to leave, Sir Nigel has gone missing—only to be found at the bottom of the rocky cliff, dead. Along with the dead body, Gemma finds evidence incriminating Leslie Wilson. When the police, in the presence of handsome detective Ryan Ashburton and suspicious detective Louise Estrada, focus their attention on Leslie despite the numerous other suspects, the game is once again afoot and it’s again up to the highly perceptive Gemma and Jayne to clear Jayne’s mother’s name.

The Cat of the Baskervilles is a thoroughly entertaining read. I did feel like there was a little more build up before the death of Nigel than I really expected, however the groundwork laid in those chapters was important for the rest of the book. It just made the start feel a little sluggish for me. I enjoyed Gemma's personality and character, as I always do, because she stays true to form and focused on the tasks at hand, or at least those most pressing in her mind. I also liked that friendships and relationships ran as an undercurrent, effecting the story but never overwhelming the plot or pacing once the book really got moving.The twists and story elements surrounding Jayne and her mother were a well evolved story line and I thought it was handled perfectly. I found the final reveal to be very well done, and am glad to say that I was unsure of the culprit until it was laid out for me. There were a ton of secrets and plot elements, but despite the sheer volume of details, it never felt overwhelming or like anything was a red herring or tossed in on a whim, which sometimes happens when this volume of details are at play.

The Cat of the Baskervilles is just as entertaining and full of twists and turns as the first book in the series. I enjoyed the read and will be following this series as it continues.

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