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A Three Book Problem: 01/22/22
A Three Book Problem by Vicki Delany and Kim Hicks (Narrator) is the seventh book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series. Gemma and Jayne have been hired to cater a weekend Sherlock Holmes themed event at Suffolk Gardens House. Before the weekend is over, the host is murdered in a method right out of The Sign of the Four (1890).
Gemma is literally next to the man as he's murdered. In previous volumes she's been exceptionally observant. This time though she seems to take stubborn pride in not observing key things. Gemma is essentially Nerfed for the majority of the book and no sensible reason is given beyond not wanting to piss off her boyfriend while he investigates. Literally the instant she decides to employ her powers of observation she figures everything out. By then, though, ninety percent of the book is over — and we've had to sit through so much idle speculation about possible motives that have no bearing on the crime.
The other disappointment for me was in my decision to listen to the audiobook instead of reading it in print. Kim Hicks gives the police detective a high pitched, nasally voice similar to how the two detectives were voiced in A Study in Murder by Callie Hutton (2020). Is this a British trope that a was imported by the narrator? Sure, Gemma is English but the novel is set in Massachusetts. There's no reasonable expectation for the detective to sound like that! It just makes the detective stand out against the other characters. The affected voice is jarring and painful to listen to.