Cozy Mystery Reads: Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series by Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is a crime writer. She has written more than forty books, ranging from cozies, Gothic thrillers, police procedurals, historical fiction, to novellas to help with adult literacy. Delany is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Catskill Resort mysteries, and the Lighthouse Library series (as pen name Eva Gates). Her previous works include The Year Round Christmas series, Constable Molly Smith series, Klondike Mystery series, Ray Robertson series, Ashley Grant Mystery series, and several stand alone titles.

Vicki Delany is considered one of Canada’s most prolific crime writers. She is also a national bestseller in the US. Delany is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada as well as the co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki was the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada.

Delany’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series caught my eye on the new shelves, so I decided to give it a try. I enjoy the original Sherlock Holmes novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so I wanted to see how Delany tackled this popular fandom. Elementary, She Read is the first book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series.

Gemma Doyle has returned to West London from England to help manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop & Emporium. When Gemma finds an incredibly rare and valuable magazine that contains the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden on one of the store’s bookshelves, she is immediately concerned. You see, Gemma is highly perceptive and knows her entire store’s inventory off the top of her head. Gemma and her friend Jayne, who runs Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, begin searching for answers. What they find instead is a dead body. Gemma is the police’s first suspect, which confounds her. She begins her investigation and what she finds leads her into a confusing world full of people with concealed motives and greed. Add in a second murder scene and Gemma and Jayne must search for any clues to clear their names.

This title can be found in the following format:

A list of the books in this series can be found at the end of this blog. Many of these titles can be found in another format: large print.

Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series

  1. Elementary, She Read (2017)
  2. Body on Baker Street (2017)
  3. The Cat of the Baskervilles (2018)
  4. A Scandal in Scarlet (2018)
  5. There’s a Murder Afoot (2020)
  6. A Curious Incident (2021)
  7. A Three Book Problem (2022)

Enola Holmes: Page and Screen

If watching Stranger Things made you a fan of  Millie Bobby Brown, if you love rebellious female heroines, or if you devour all things Sherlock Holmes, then Enola Holmes may be the character for you. A film adaptation centered on Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’ younger sister is now available on Netflix, so there’s no better time to discover the mystery book series by Nancy Springer.

The series is six books in all, starting with The Case of the Missing Marquess, first published in 2006. As in the recent film, the book’s action starts when Enola discovers her mother is missing. It’s up to her to travel to London and find her, while solving a few other mysteries and avoiding her older brothers at the same time.

I am excited about this series and its film adaptation for a number of reasons. Nancy Springer wrote some of my most favorite books when I was younger, full of fascinating, sympathetic characters, plenty of action and humor, and covering a wide range of genres and situations. Secondly, I am a self-confessed Anglophile, and I love the Sherlock Holmes character and universe. Throw in a spunky, clever, determined heroine, and I am 100% on board. The fact that the Enola character is played in the film by Millie Bobby Brown, whom I love in Stranger Things, is just a bonus. If you like mysteries, historical fiction, and comparing books to their film adaptations, I definitely recommend you check out the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer.

Sherlock, Season One

Sherlock Holmes comes to the 21st century in the new BBC series Sherlock. Consulted reluctantly by the police, Holmes is brilliant, sarcastic and socially awkward. Watson, a military doctor that has just returned from Afghanistan after being wounded, is not the bumbling fool so often portrayed in film but is an equal partner in the detective work and also serves as a moral compass for Holmes.

The familiar framework remains, just tweaked in places for the modern setting. Thus, the deerstalker becomes a scarf, Watson keeps a blog rather than a journal, London atmosphere comes from a skyline that includes the Millenium Wheel and the Gherkin building rather than foggy, cobblestone streets and Holmes finds his informants among the homeless rather than street children. What doesn’t change, however, is the brilliant Holmes – socially misfit, actively disliked by many, hyper intelligent.

As you would expect from the BBC, the production values are excellent. Filming on location in London lends authentic atmosphere; the writing is sharp and witty with many homages to the Arthur Conan Doyle originals; and the acting is outstanding. The only negative? There are only three episodes. However, the series proved to be so popular in England that they are currently filming three more episodes – watch for them on PBS in the fall.

Whether you’re new to Sherlock Holmes, or longtime fan you’re sure to enjoy this fun new series.

If You Like Sherlock Holmes…

We have a display for you! At both Main Street and Fairmount Street libraries, we have mysteries and DVDs of Sherlock Holmes spinoffs.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King  is the first in a series featuring a feminist Mary Russell. A teenager at the time, she meets the great Holmes  while she is wandering the Sussex countryside. Holmes mentors Mary as they investigate the kidnapping of an American senator’s daughter. The World WarI era , an Oxford setting – where Mary is a student, and the evolving relationship in which Holmes mentors his young protegee are all strong points of the novel.

The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr is a humorous paranormal twist on the Holmes canon. The setting is a ghostly Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh,Scotland. Watson and Holmes are called in by Sherlock’s brother to investigate murders that Mycroft fears may threaten Queen Victoria. The author of The Alienist “reflects a deep knowledge and understanding of Holmesiana.” Publisher’s Weekly