Monday, August 28, 2017

"Elementary, She Read" by Vicki Delany

"That high tea was great," the customer with the grand bust said to me. "I'll be telling all my friends about this place."

"What high tea?" I said. "Oh, you mean afternoon tea. You really shouldn't get those mixed up. High tea, sometimes just called tea, is what the working man calls his dinner, and afternoon tea is what you had."

— From Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

Tea lovers, I just finished a new cozy mystery that I think you'll enjoy as much as I did, and I particularly love the premise of this one. In the small town of West London, Massachusetts, Gemma Doyle runs a Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium at 222 Baker St. (221 Baker St. wasn't available). Gemma is English but came to America to help her Great Uncle Arthur run his bookstore, and they also own half of the business next door, Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room.

The bookshop sells all things Sherlock, including not only books but also such items as busts, puzzles, mugs, dish towels, and the occasional rare collectible. A near-priceless issue of a magazine that published the first Sherlock Holmes story lands in the shop under some highly unusual circumstances, and when Gemma—along with her tea-shop-owner friend Jayne—tries to restore the magazine to its rightful owner, the two come across a dead body and find themselves suspects in a murder investigation.

Like her store's namesake, Gemma possesses some amazing powers of deduction. It's great fun to watch her do things like introduce herself to a character she's never met before, getting the person's identity correct based simply on her powers of observation. The author gives us plenty of red herrings, the requisite dust-ups with local law enforcement, and, of course, enough cups of tea to make us all want to go browse through the book shop and order "afternoon tea" at Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. The second book in the series hits shelves September 12, and I can't wait!


  1. Oh, this one is going on my "want" list! The fact that the author knows the difference between high tea and afternoon tea is enough to make me want to read it. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the review! I will definitely have to get it! Check out the Hein bookstore in Jackson CA. They have a wonderful Sherlock Holmes/Baker Street West shop. Afternoon tea, mystery dinners and Sherlock's flat and Mrs. Hudson too!

  3. Sounds fun - thanks for telling us about it!

  4. Thanks for sharing - sounds like a good book!

  5. Thanks for sharing. With school back in session I need a new book to read in the carpool line.


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