Famous stage and movie star Sir Nigel Bellingham arrives in West London, Massachusetts to star in a stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles put on by the West London Theater Festival. Before rehearsals can even start, Sir Nigel plunges to his death from the cliffs. Now it’s a matter of whether it was suicide or murder.
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. Unfortunately, Gemma not only finds the body, but she also 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. Its again up to the highly perceptive Gemma and the ever-confused but loyal Jayne to clear Leslie before she is arrested.
Anyone who enjoys Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock Holmes series will devour The Cat of the Baskervilles. Ms. Delany has created a wonderful series in the vein of Mr. Doyle right down to the memorable characters and the methods Sherlock employs to deduce the villain. The setting of West London, Mass is picture perfect, and theatre is a fitting setting for murder and mystery.
In today’s world of formulaic stories, it is nice to come across one that is outside of the general cozy genre and which emphasizes the clues and deductions over simple romance and tired plots. The age of Doyle and Christie is alive and well, and readers will be drawn to stories that contain more than the average book.
Gemma is a great detective who uses reason and observation as her tools. She isn’t the average everyday sleuth. Running her business, The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, she has an advantage over her Homes obsessed customers and even the police. She can deduce clues and motives faster and better. Often, before the police even realize a crime has been committed Gemma is already investigating.
Other characters such as Jayne and her mother, Leslie have personalities that compliment Gemma’s. Ryan and Grant are great love interests even though the reader will know from the beginning what Gemma’s heart wants.
This is the third book in the series, but it is not necessary to read the previous installments to understand what is going on and who the players are. The story is fun and entertaining as well as though provoking, and can be read in one sitting. The Cat of the Baskervilles Is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Doyle or Christie, and any reader who just wants a good book.