Excerpt and #Giveaway: Elementary She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

Posted March 13, 2017 by Melissa in Book promo, Giveaway | 11 Comments

Excerpt and #Giveaway: Elementary She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

About Elementary She Read
Excerpt and #Giveaway: Elementary She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki DelanyTitle: Elementary She Read
Series: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1
Author: Vicki Delany
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 320 Pages
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository

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.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Books are my first (and I sometimes think, my only) love, and my intention when I came to America to take over Great Uncle Arthur’s business, was to continue to run this place as a bookstore featuring Conan Doyle, his contemporaries, and modern books influenced by them. But I quickly came to realize that these days, as everyone knows, Sherlock Holmes is far more than books, so we branched out into all forms of Sherlockania. I have tried to keep our stock dignified, but what I call “junk” and Jayne calls “memorabilia” began creeping onto the shelves as of Day One.

The shop now sells movie posters, DVDs of the movies, collectables such as the aforementioned bust of Christopher Lee, and even mugs, towels, and dishcloths. First thing this morning, only a few minutes before I started dusting, I unloaded–I mean sold–a life-sized, stand-up, cut-out of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock along with a full-color, illustrated book on the making of the contemporary BBC series.

As well as the Bookshop and Emporium, Uncle Arthur and I are half-owners of the business next door. Jayne owns the other half and runs the place. We call it Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.

The bell over the door tinkled and I glanced toward it. Then I glanced again.

The man standing there was definitely worth a second look. He was tall and lean, with deep brown eyes, a strong jaw showing a hint of stubble, chiseled cheekbones, and a mass of brown hair curling around his ears in the damp sea air. He wore Italian loafers, khaki Dockers, and a blue-checked shirt with the top two buttons undone. His clothes were clean, but not new and the trousers could have done with the touch of an iron. He gave me a smile that practically lit up the room.

“Hi,” I croaked. “I mean, welcome. If I can help you with anything, let me know.”

“Thanks,” he said. “Nice cat.”

The creature to which he was referring was Moriarty, the shop cat. Moriarty had roused himself from his morning nap and was happily rubbing himself against the man’s legs.

“Uh,” I said.

The man gave Moriarty a pat on the head and then straightened up again. The cat meowed for more attention. “Quite the place you have here.”

“We’re all Sherlock, all the time.”

“You’re from England, right?”

I nodded.

“The heart of London, I detect.”

“You have a good ear.” Most Americans can’t distinguish an accent from one part of England from another. Never mind Scottish from Irish or Welsh from English.
“I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the UK,” he said. I smiled, but I didn’t reply that I could tell. I also have what he called a “good ear.” His accent told me he was from Boston, educated at a private school or a very good public one and his education had been completed in England. He wandered around the shop, followed closely by Moriarty. When the man stopped to examine the shelf containing games and puzzles, the cat jumped up. He almost smiled. I didn’t know Moriarty could do that. The man scratched behind the feline’s ear. Moriarty purred. He was small and thin, despite the prodigious quantities of kibble he consumed, and pure black except for his amber eyes, “Friendly little guy. What’s his name?”

“Moriarty.”

He laughed. That is, the man laughed, not the cat.

“Let me know if I can help you with anything.” I returned to my dusting. The man spent a couple of minutes idly looking at the Holmes and Watson chamber pot (which I suggest using as a planter), leafing through the movie posters, and examining the DVD collection. It was obvious by the way he barely looked at the objects he was pretending to be interested in that tasteless chamber pots and movie memorabilia were not the reason for his visit. His eyes wandered constantly to the bookshelves. The Holmes shelves, not the gaslight or non-fiction.

He laughed. That is, the man laughed, not the cat.

“Let me know if I can help you with anything.” I returned to my dusting. The man spent a couple of minutes idly looking at the Holmes and Watson chamber pot (which I suggest using as a planter), leafing through the movie posters, and examining the DVD collection. It was obvious by the way he barely looked at the objects he was pretending to be interested in that tasteless chamber pots and movie memorabilia were not the reason for his visit. His eyes wandered constantly to the bookshelves. The Holmes shelves, not the gaslight or non-fiction.

Eventually he oh-so-casually drifted over.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?” I asked.

“Nope. Just browsing.” He picked up the first edition The Sign of the Four. “Too bad this is damaged.”

“It’s a tragedy. But I get new stock in all the time. Occasionally, I have some second edition books in moderately good condition.”

“Is that so,” he said, moving on to the bound collections of the Strand Magazine.

“I can take your name if you like. Keep you posted if I hear of anything.”

He turned to face me. That smile again. “Good idea.”

“I do a mail order business, too.” I said. I wasn’t digging to find out where he lived. Really, I wasn’t. I didn’t know anything about him other than he was a native New Englander, had enjoyed a comfortable childhood, was educated at an Ivy League College, had spent several years in the UK, probably around Oxford (as either a post-graduate student or junior professor) and he was not here as a casual tourist. He was not wealthy, but not struggling either. And unlikely to be married.
“I’ve recently moved to West London,” he said.

“Welcome,” I said. It was a mild spring day, and earlier a strong breeze had been blowing in from the ocean. But the temperature in the shop was climbing rapidly.
“What came first?” he asked. “The store or the address.”

“They do to go together, don’t they? This was formerly a hardware store, but my great uncle bought it for the address. 222 Baker Street, West London, New England.”
He smiled. I felt myself smiling back. I momentarily forgot myself and extended my hand to stroke Moriarty.

In return the cat hissed and scratched my left arm. It hurt.

Uncle Arthur had found the starving, abandoned kitten in the alley behind the shop two years ago, and lured him in with a dish of cream and sweet words. Moriarty’s lived here ever since. He’s a great shop cat. Everyone loves him and he loves everyone in return.

Everyone except me. I try not to take it personally. Other animals seem to like me just fine. Maybe he misses Uncle Arthur and blames me for taking his place. Still, I keep trying to make nice.

“I’m Grant, by the way. Grant Thompson.” He held out his hand.

I took it in mine and we shook. “Gemma Doyle.”

“Doyle?”

“A distant relation, or so my family says.”

“There’s a story there,” he said with a grin. “And I’m going to hear it one day. But now, here’s my card.” He handed me a small square of stiff cream paper. “Is the place next door strictly a tea room? I haven’t had lunch yet, but I’m not much of a tea person.”

“Surely at Oxford you got accustomed to tea?” I said. Was I flirting? Why, I think I might have been.

“How did you know I went to Oxford?”

I waved my hand in the air. “You picked up a trace of an accent.” That, plus an educated guess on my part: he might have gone to Cambridge.

“You’re very observant, Gemma Doyle.”

“Am I? I don’t think so.”

“I did my PhD at Oxford, yes. Never did care for tea, but I learned to love a good British pub.”

“Mrs. Hudson’s specializes in cream teas and afternoon teas,” I said. “But we do sandwiches and salads for lunch, and good-old American muffins and bagels in the morning. Coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos too.”

“I might give it a try then. Catch you later, Gemma.”

Moriarty jumped off the counter. Tail high, he followed Grant to the door that led to the tea room. He was, of course, forbidden from going where food was served, and so he sat by the door gazing in wistfully. He was small in size, but gigantic in personality.

I wiped a drop of blood off the cat-scratch on my arm. Then I flipped the card over. “Grant Thompson. Rare book collector.” No street address, just an email and phone number.

Giveaway

Print Copy of Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries. Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

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11 responses to “Excerpt and #Giveaway: Elementary She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

  1. Thank you for hosting Vicki Delany and her latest book, Elementary, She Read. It definitely perked my interest and is now on my want to read list. I love the play on Sherlock Holmes.

  2. Dianne Casey

    I really like the sound of “Elementary, She Read”. Like the tie in with Sherlock Holmes. Hopefully the start of another great series.

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