Review: A Curious Incident by Vicki Delaney

cover199658-medium//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“I am not a Consulting Detective,” Gemma Doyle reluctantly tells 10-year-old Lauren Tierney, when the little girl comes to the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium to beg Gemma to find her missing cat, Snowball. Gemma might not be able to follow the clues to find the cat, but her dog Violet follows her nose to locate the missing kitten in a neighbor’s garden shed. Gemma and Violet proudly return Snowball to her grateful owner, and Gemma basks in praise for a job well done. But a few days later Lauren is back with ten dollars in hand, wanting to once again hire a consulting detective, and this time for a far bigger job: Her mother has been accused of murdering her garden club rival.


Sheila Tierney’s garden, which everyone said was the one to beat for the West London Garden Club trophy, had been vandalized the night before the club’s early summer tour. Sheila confronted her former friend and gardening partner Anna Wentworth in a towering rage, and the women nearly came to blows. Later that night, after having won the trophy for best garden, Anna is found murdered and Sheila Tierney is the police’s prime suspect.

Despite herself, and despite the disapproval of her police detective boyfriend Ryan Ashburton, the game is once again afoot, and Gemma finds herself and Jayne Wilson using their powers of deduction to ponder yet another curious incident.

After being introduced to this series by an online book group, I immediately fell in love with Gemma and the gang.  They’re such a fun and varied group of characters that they’re easy to like.  Each new installment brings something new to the table and I’m constantly learning something about one of them.  

One of my bigger annoyances with Gemma in the earlier books was her rigidity.  Once she got her teeth into a mystery, there was no stopping her, and it didn’t matter who she upset int he process.  She’s come a long way over the series and although she still can’t resist a good mystery, she’s much better at thinking about how her actions affect others.  Gemma even went so far as to try her hardest to not investigate this time around.  I was shocked by how much restraint she showed, honestly, and it made her eventual caving more understandable.  If she keeps moving forward and learns how to even better balance her curiosity and snooping with being respectful, I think she’ll be amazing.

There was a bit more romance in this installment which was fun for me.  Not everyone feels that way, but it doesn’t bother me much since the major focus was still on the mystery.  The addition of Snowball the cat was entertaining as well.  It was nice to see a cat not half as grouchy as Moriarty!

I enjoyed the mystery and it kept me guessing right up until the end.  The author does a great job of giving you lots of suspects and supports why each might possibly be the murderer.  All the little tidbits and details that Gemma picks up on add interest for me and give the story a very Sherlock vibe, which is, of course the intention.  It was something that always amazed me with Sherlock as I’m not even close to being that observant.  

Anxiously awaiting the next in the series.  They just keep getting better and better.

4.5/5

Thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

2 thoughts on “Review: A Curious Incident by Vicki Delaney

    1. It’s a great series, especially if you’re a Sherlock fan! I hope you enjoy it. And I’ve actually done the opposite – I picked up a Kim Harrison book this last week. Haven’t read any urban fantasy in a while.

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