While I read a lot of entertaining books that I really enjoy, every so often a new series comes along that, from the very first page, completely captivates me. Such is the case with ELEMENTARY, SHE READ by Vicki Delaney! From her quirky, endearing protagonist, Gemma Doyle (who may or may not be distantly related to the author of Sherlock Holmes) to the setting of the quaint New England Cape Cod town, I loved it all. And I was especially enthralled with Gemma’s shop, Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium located at 222 Baker Street, adjacent to her best friend’s shop, Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. I wish it was a real shop because I could spend hours browsing there! Gemma is a British transplant and brings a unique inflection to the New England setting. She is amazingly perceptive at noticing the smallest of details yet is a bit of a klutz and quite forgetful at times. Gemma is also very outspoken and directly honest, which makes people around her uncomfortable at times, but she has a good heart and never does it with malice.
While I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes books (gasp! I can’t believe I’ve overlooked them or am even admitting it!!!) I envision Gemma as a modern day type of Holmes with her best friend, Jayne, a reluctant Watson. The pair complement each other, bringing light humor to the situations they find themselves in. The plot moves along at a fast pace and the author weaves in a priceless magazine that contains the first published Sherlock Holmes story, with a reclusive multi-millionaire, feuding heirs, and a murdered caregiver. There are numerous suspects and Gemma methodically examines them all while dealing with the town’s new detective that seems to have it in for her. The reveal neatly wraps up the threads of the story in an exciting conclusion, leaving me wanting more!
While there aren’t any recipes included with the book, Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room provides plenty of tempting treats to whet your appetite. Vicki has graciously shared her recipe for Mini Strawberry Tarts. These delectable bites are the combination of flaky, buttery crusts providing the perfect platform for the rich, creamy custard and garnished with juicy, sweet strawberries. A delicious ending to spring and summer dinners while elegant enough to impress both family and guests!
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.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in the sleuthing duo of Gemma and Jayne in Elementary, She Read, the clever and captivating series debut by nationally bestselling author Vicki Delany.
A special thanks to Vicki Delaney for providing a hardcover copy of ELEMENTARY, SHE READ for one lucky winner! Contest ends Friday, March 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST, and is limited to U.S. residents only. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
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I received a copy of this book and willingly provided a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.