A classic cozy with a nice Sherlockian background…
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories were some of the earliest mysteries I remember reading after I “graduated” from the Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown books I read in grade school. And I really liked the Holmes books, so I was happy to receive an advance review copy of A Curious Incident, which is the sixth and most recent title in a series set in a fictional Holmes-themed bookstore and tea room on Cape Cod.
Author Vicki Delany does a nice job of sprinkling Holmes trivia throughout the book, while also crafting an enjoyable mystery. The plot revolves around a garden club rivalry that appears to have gone (very) sour, ending in the death of one of the rivals. But of course, things aren’t necessarily what they seem. So when the obvious suspect’s young daughter wants to hire bookseller (but NOT a consulting detective) Gemma Doyle to clear her mother, things start rolling along. Although I did end up figuring out whodunnit pretty early on, there were enough twists and turns that I kept second-guessing myself, so in the end, I guess I can’t really claim to have figured it out after all.
Since this is the sixth in the series, and I haven’t read any of the earlier books, I did feel a little bit lost at first. But it seemed pretty obvious that Gemma and her bookshop co-owner. Great-Uncle Arthur, must be distant relatives of the original Sir Arthur, and that turns out to be the case. And I eventually figured out most of the other relationships that were important for the story, including Gemma’s policeman boyfriend, Ryan; best friend, Jayne; and semi-nemesis (and Ryan’s fellow police officer), Louise Estrada.
A Curious Incident is pretty much a classic cozy mystery, so if you like cozies, you’ll like this one, and if you don’t, you probably won’t. I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to keep an eye out for some of the earlier titles in the series. Please keep in mind that for me, 4 stars is my normal ranking, and is a solid recommendation for the book – so long as, as I mentioned up above, you like cozies. (I only give five stars to maybe one in thirty or forty books that I read.) Finally, I’d like to thank the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and Net Galley for the advance review copy.
And yes, just in case you were wondering, the title does turn out to be relevant in the end!