Gemma Doyle, an English transplant in Massachusetts, owns a Sherlock Holmes-themed bookstore, complete with an attached tea shop and fitting address. Gemma herself is similar to the famed detective, with an insatiable curiosity and slightly cold manner that is driven by an incessant attention to detail. When her and her best friend Jayne, the owner of the tea shop, try to find the owner of a Sherlock Holmes magazine accidentally left in the store, they stumble upon a dead body (because of course), and Gemma is the prime suspect (again, of course).
Given Gemma’s nature and how close to home the case is, she is compelled to investigate the murder, through both legal and slightly gray means. Other cast of characters include a handsome ex-boyfriend detective and an equally handsome rare book dealer, one detective out for her blood, and a bunch of suspicious relatives to the deceased. Interspersed with the sleuthing is scene from a cozy coastal town, where the locals all know each other and everyone keeps a finger on the gossip pulse.
What I Loved:
- It has all of the elements that you can ask for in a cozy from the quaint town, plucky and independent female protagonist, and even a cute dog.
- Sherlock Holmes pastiche, need I say more?
- The friendship between Gemma and Jayne is really sweet, and great to see since it takes away from the various romances.
What was Not So Hot:
- First person narration. I am so over it, anyone else?
- Gemma is a little *too* similar to Sherlock Holmes. She has a disconnect and cold demeanor, which she acknowledges but doesn’t feel the need to fix. She will occasionally moderate her snobbiness if called out on it, but it is really the people around her that make her human to the reader.
I recommend this to all lovers of cozies and New England fiction, and Sherlock Holmes fans. Four waves!