A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we bring you our review of The Cat of the Baskervilles, the third volume in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by Vicki Delany. I have still not gotten tired of saying that this is one of our favorite series, and this third book only reinforces that feeling.

The plot

It’s July on Cape Cod, and the famed Nigel Bellingham, formerly a big star, now somewhat of a drunken has-been who nevertheless has a devoted following, is set to star in the West London Theater Festival’s production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. This is big. Really big. Gemma Doyle, a native of London (the one in England) who has senses of observation as keen as those of Sherlock himself, is part owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. She gets roped into helping with a fundraising tea being put on by Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, which is run by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Jayne’s mother, Leslie, also helps, and she seems particularly interested in Nigel. Unfortunately, Sir Nigel disappears after embarrassing himself during the tea, and Gemma discovers his very dead body at the bottom of a cliff.

Now the question is, Did he jump or fall, or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, might Leslie have done the deed as an act of revenge for.… Well, just why would she have done such a thing? And what about Sir Nigel’s long-suffering assistant, or his understudy who takes over the role of Holmes? And how is a series of thefts connected to the murder, if indeed it was a murder?

Gemma has been warned repeatedly by the local police not to get involved in any more investigations, but when Jane’s mother is under suspicion, she can’t keep out of it. And let’s face it: these fictional police need all the help they can get. The real question that must be asked is, Who benefits?

The cat

The cat in this series is a black fellow named Moriarty who is friendly with just about everyone except Gemma. We do wish he would be more involved in the actual mystery part of these books, but he is a great cat even as he appears along the story’s sidelines. Actually, I think we see more of Moriarty in this book than in either of the previous books, so we did enjoy that. We especially appreciated the scene in which Gemma observes him smirking from, appropriately, the “gaslight” shelf of the store (that’s where she shelves books that are not about Sherlock but that are set in his time period; but “gaslight” means something else entirely to anyone who has seen the wonderful 1944 movie starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, and in Moriarty’s case we do not think the double meaning is an accident!).

Our verdict

As I hinted in the opening paragraph, we enjoyed every word in The Cat of the Baskervilles. Vicki Delany continues to impress us with her ability to bring together the many strands of a story in a way that feels completely plausible and is a delight to read. We even enjoy seeing Gemma disparage Sherlock items that we would totally buy, because we love the many versions of Sherlock just as much as patrons of her shop do. We were also delighted to see that the name Lord Peter Wimsey gets a mention in this book (so appropriate, given Gemma’s British background). Gemma herself continues to grow as a character, trying to be less, um, irritating as she casually points out things that people don’t really want to have pointed out. And as she becomes less irritating to others, we wonder just where her relationship with Detective Ryan Ashburton is going, if it is going anywhere. And then there’s Moriarty, who is such a great shop cat—friendly to all the customers, somewhat violent toward Gemma. What will his role be in future books? We cannot wait to find out!

Highly recommended!

Two Paws Up--A Great Read!

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

We received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. We wouldn’t tell you it was good unless we really liked it!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. I was a Sherlock Holmes fan before I became a cat lady, so mixing them is purrfect for me!

  2. I went to Amazon to look up this title and was also shown a link to "Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Cat" by Woodrow w. Walker. You may want to look this one up too !

  3. Ooh...I can't wait to read this one!!! That cover is just magnificent and the story sounds pawsome too!

  4. This sounds like a book Mommy needs to put on her Kindle!

  5. Great review, this sounds good-not as good as Miss Cuddlywumps though :)

  6. Excellent review! I have actually read this book! I LOVED it!

  7. Great review. Glad you enjoyed the book. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

  8. "Moriarty, who is friendly with just about everyone except Gemma."
    That's a cat alright! Great review.

  9. I've finally been making a little more time for reading books. I'm currently reading another one you recommended, but once that is done I might look into this series. I haven't read a series in a long time. That could keep me busy for a while!