“The Cat Of The Baskervilles – Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #3” by Vicki Delany

A disappointing episode, like a sponge cake that’s failed to rise. It had all the right ingredients but the plot and pacing collapsed and left me glad to have finished.

I was frustrated by this third offering tn the “Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries”. I could see the potential of the book but, for me, that potential was never realised.

The title was enticing but, apart from some unexplained muddy catspaw prints in the opening chapter, it had no relevance to the plot.

I enjoyed the early set up of the premise for the book, a death associated with a drama festival featuring, Sir Nigel, a once-famous British actor, as Holmes in “The Hound Of The Baskervilles” although it did seem to parallel the course of the last book more than a little.

I liked the description of the big party and seeing how the rich and the actors behave around ordinary folks.

I think it was the plot and the pacing that let this book down. The subplot around Sir Nigel’s past worked well but the subplot around a spate of thefts went nowhere. The main motivation behind events was a stretch that wasn’t helped by having the action hang on one of the most thinly drawn characters. The pacing was a problem because the book appeared to end three times and none of the endings was particularly satisfactory.

I did enjoy the trope twist on the Poirotesque big reveal scene and the dialogue made me laugh several times. I still like the characters. I’ll still stick with the series but I’m hoping the next book works better.

An unexpected source of disappointment for me was that that the narrator of the audiobook was changed from Kelly Clare, who narrated the first two books, to Kim Hicks. I’d enjoyed Kelly Clare’s performances and she seems to me to be a much better choice than Kim Hicks who, although she is a skilled narrator, sounds too old for a first-person account of a woman in her thirties.

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