Vicki Delaney is as busy as the proverbial bee when it comes to writing. She’s the author of the Lighthouse Library Mysteries (writing as Eva Gates), the Ashley Grant Mysteries, the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, the Constable Molly Smith Mysteries, and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries.
Her newest work is There’s a Murder Afoot, which takes mystery lovers from Gemma Doyle’s Boston bookshop all the way to London for the celebration of Sherlock’s January 6 birthday. Gemma is ready to leave the operation of her bookshop and accompanying Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room to her staff and take a jet to her native London for the celebration.
Accompanying her are her friend and business partner Jayne Wilson, her boyfriend and policeman Ryan Ashburton, Grant Thompson, a rare book dealer, and Donald Morris, a retired lawyer and active Sherlockian.
Gemma is overjoyed at the prospect of spending some time with her parents, retired Scotland Yark detective Henry Doyle and Anne, a judge. She’s certainly not excited about the prospect of a murder investigation.
The trip across the Atlantic proves uneventful, but thinks quickly go awry shortly after the travelers arrive in London.
While having drinks at their hotel, Gemma notices a man at another table staring at her. She calls this to the attention of Ryan and her father, and when her father makes eye contact with the stranger, he quickly suggests they hurry along to the restaurant where they have dinner reservations.
Her father quietly identifies the fellow as Anne’s brother Randolph Denhaugh, the black sheep of the family, who had stolen an immensely valuable Constable painting from his parents years ago and then vanished, leaving his parents in straightened circumstances for the rest of their lives. Gemma has never heard of him.
Within 24 hours, Randolph is dead, brutally murdered in a side room at the hotel. Standing next to him is Gemma’s father, bleeding from the head and with no memory of what had occurred.
An overzealous Scotland Yard officer, who resents Gemma’s father, happily charges him with murder, but the evidence is so scant a judge quickly releases Mr. Doyle and chastises the detective. But the fact remains: Randolph was murdered and Henry was found at the scene almost instantly.
Gemma and her friends wind up spending an extra week in London, sifting through the evidence, interviewing suspects, and almost getting themselves killed in the process. After all, if a killer strikes once, what difference does a second or third murder make?
Stokely Memorial Library now has There’s a Murder Afoot in their vast collection of mystery books. Give it a read and pit your skills against those of several devotees of Sherlock Holmes!
Located at 383 East Broadway, Stokely Memorial Library is open Mondays—Saturdays from 10-5 and may be reached by telephone at 423-623-3832.