The Sign of Four Spirits by Vicki Delany

3 stars. Interesting cozy with a twist: a locked room murder mystery!

Gemma reluctantly runs the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium in, of course, a small Cape Cod town. Cozy mysteries and Cape Cod go together like tea and scones! The set up for the series is she partners with her friend, Jayne, who runs the adjoining bake shop called Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. There is afternoon tea and Sherlock references along with a psychic fair come to town, so a bit of something for every reader.

When Gemma is thrown out of a seance she didn’t want to attend, there is a murder and things get weird. The room is locked, Gemma was at the only entrance/exit. Is the murderer one of the attendees or something else entirely-this is a psychic fair after all! Now, don’t get excited, dear reader, this is NOT a paranormal cozy. It was pretty good , though. Read on for more of my jibber jabber about it

This is my first read in this series so I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The story moves right along and the characters make sense. The romance is light and relationships are ‘real’ and not just nonsense created to fit a plot. The seance/psychic fair is a fun set up for the characters to interact with and I thought it was well done.

The character I struggled with is actually Gemma. She is, hmmm, let’s call her abrasive and condescending. That’s a little vague so, ok, she is a bitch. I get it that the plot requires her to be less than enthusiastic over running the book shop but dang, this is book 9 in the series-shouldn’t she be over this crap by now? She has her nose stuck in ALL the business and then gets mad when someone calls her on it. She has some issues! I would not be her friend and would not shop at her store. I would totally have tea at Jayne’s shop, though! This is just me because after 9 books, other (normal) people apparently adore Gemma and her attitude.

Other than that this was a nifty little cozy mystery that as usual fooled me completely on who did it. The cat is awesome, so three stars. I was given a copy and this is my honest opinion: fans will love it, newbies will have no trouble figuring out who is who and the mystery is wrapped up very neatly. So, not quite an ‘otter’ read but a good book to while away an afternoon.

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