A SCANDAL IN SCARLET
By Vicki Delany
Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore and Emporium (home to the cat, Moriarty, who loves and hates equally) has had a long day. It is the height of tourist season in Cape Cod, and both she and her friend and partner in Mrs. Hudson’s Tearoom (Jayne) are working a lot of hours. One night after work, Gemma is basically crawling home, but she still has one more thing to do: walk Violet, her Great Uncle’s pup.
Heading through the quaint streets, Violet begins to bark and Gemma smells a bit of smoke in the air. Looking through the windows of the Scarlet Museum, the oldest surviving house in West London, Gemma sees the flicker of fire and immediately calls 911. Not only does the man she has a romantic past with arrive (lead detective, Ryan Ashburton), but also his partner who doesn’t like Gemma’s behavior of getting involved in criminal cases.
Gemma swears off attempting to find the arsonist, but when she and Jayne put on an auction to raise money to fix the Scarlet House, and the head of the committee turns up dead in the tearoom, things change. Another local shopkeeper, Maureen, is the main suspect because she had a fight with the dead woman not long before the body was found. She asks for Gemma’s help, and even though Gemma doesn’t want to, she believes that Maureen—although a real pain—is definitely not a murderer. As Gemma and Jayne begin to ask questions, past stories, past resentments, and even a bit of old-fashioned, small-town jealousy crop up and the list of suspects grows long.
These books are so much fun and so well-done, it is clear that Delany is in love with her characters as much as her die-hard fans are. Which means…a great next step would be to build the Emporium as a real tourist attraction on Cape Cod very soon. People would never stop coming to visit!