Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany - #review #giveaway

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.



The comparisons between Elementary, She Read, and Holmesian lore are many, varied, and each one is like a little gift to unwrap and enjoy.

Gemma's story is set in West London, Massachusetts.  Her family name is DOYLE, and her uncle (after whom the store is named) is Arthur.  There are many parallels between Gemma and Sherlock as well.  They both have highly developed observational skills.  Neither will suffer fools with much patience.  Their intellectual talents are almost beyond compare, while their social skills are not nearly as polished.  It was especially interesting in terms of the book to see how the character-type played out in a female person.

And the cat may be named Moriarty, but he's rather a dear, and we must look for villains elsewhere.  And we need not look far.  After all, the patriarch of a wealthy family has passed and everyone in the family (and a few of the staff) are lining up at the trough.  And part of this mystery just appears in Gemma's shop when one of the heirs leaves a copy of early magazine containing a Sherlock Holmes story in the racks.  If it's genuine, it could be worth a fortune.

While running around a small town in Massachusetts lacks a certain cachet present in traipsing around Sherlock's London and the English countryside, the action is well-paced, and the twists and turns will keep you engaged.

Elementary She Read is a worthy addition to the world of Sherlockiana (is there such a word).  Now my only wonder is will Elementary She Read wind up on the shelves in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium.



Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.




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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)


  1. Really enjoyed the synopsis of the book and I'm looking forward to reading to reading the book.

  2. I am an "anything Sherlock Holmes" fan! The premise of this book with the names and references to the original Doyle idea is fascinating. The book is at the top of my 'must, must read' list!