Gemma Doyle, the owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, is out in the night, walking her dog when she sees flames behind the Scarlet Museum. Gemma manages to call the cops but it is too late and the museum is now completed burnt.
The board members decide to hold an auction in order to raise money for rebuilding the museum. The auction is to be held at Mrs.Hudson’s tea shop, which is run by Gemma’s best friend Jayne Wilson. Things take a turn for good when Kathy Lamb, the chief of museum board is found dead in the back room.
Gemma’s ex-fiance` and current/would-be boyfriend (by the end of the story), Ryan Ashburton and Louis Estrada, both cops, arrive at the scene of the murder. The suspect list is long and Gemma doesn’t want to poke her nose into solving this murder. But when one of the suspects challenges Gemma to prove that she’s better than the cops, Gemma decides to take up the case. Ryan isn’t happy about Gemma deciding to help in the investigations.
Will Gemma’s science of deduction help in solving this murder?
I liked the concept of including Holmes-like deductive skills in the protagonist – Gemma Doyle. Her great-uncle, Arthur Doyle owns the first print copy of The Valley of Fear, which he decides to auction to raise funds for the museum restoration. This being a Sherlock Holmes cozy mystery, I felt that the names were a bit too much. First the Doyles, then Mrs. Hudson’s tea room and numerous references to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock TV series. A lot of Holmes pastiches are also mentioned – none of which I have ever heard before. This is something that I need to note down and check. (Never decreasing TBR pile!)
Call me old school or whatever, but I am going to be a bit partial here and say that I like Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes TV series. Nobody plays the role as good as he does. What say?
Moving on to the review, I liked the story. With numerous twists and secrets, the story was pretty engaging. Jayne and Gemma’s friendship was well portrayed. Jayne knows that Gemma cannot take a no for an answer. She even cancels her date with Jack so that she can keep an eye on her best friend. Ryan and Gemma’s relation was cute. From exes to rekindling their romance, that was lovely.
Gemma’s dog Violet and the shop-cat Moriarty – the two animals that steal the show! Though Moriarty doesn’t like Gemma, he manages to shoo away the perp when there’s a break-in at Gemma’s bookshop. Maureen, the rude shopkeeper from across the street – everybody hates her. When she comes the prime suspect in Kathy’s murder, she comes to Gemma for help. But the lady is downright rude to Gemma, and this makes anyone hate her! Then there’s Detective Estrada who believes that Gemma started the fire in the museum because she seeks attention! *rolls eyes!*
Overall, this was an okay story. Since I haven’t read the first three books, I am not very familiar with the series. But this can be read as a standalone as there are no references made to the previous books in this series. The writing was okay. I wouldn’t call the story boring but at the same time, it wasn’t very engaging. The mystery behind the whodunit was very good. The identity of the perp was pretty obvious in the end.
Gemma’s deduction skills were really good. She solves two murders – one of which happened seven years ago. So kudos to her deduction skills. Somehow I could not connect much with the characters. Gemma and Jayne were fine, but others, nope.
A Scandal in Scarlet was a good read. Cozy with a Sherlock twist and a couple of vamps ( the two rude ladies).
Character Development: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Title: A Scandal in Scarlet
Author: Vicki Delany
Publication Date: 13th November 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery and Thrillers
Featured Image Credits: NetGalley
Thank you, NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.