The Game is a Footnote

by Vicki Delany

published by Crooked Lane Books on January 10, 2023

AMBER LOVE 12-Jan-2023 This review is a courtesy provided by NetGalley. To support this site and my other work, please consider being a monthly donor at; you can also buy my books through Amazon (or ask your local retailer to order you copies). I’m also an Amazon Influencer so you can shop through my lists of recommended products.

There are no surprises that I enjoyed another cozy mystery by Vicki Delany. I love her entire concept for the Gemma Doyle mysteries: a Brit living in America and running a Sherlock Holmes themed bookshop and teahouse with her best friend Jayne.

The Game is a Footnote includes a crossover of two mysteries: What happened to a particular crown jewel of Queen Victoria? And who murdered Dave Chase?

Delany makes a playful pun of the family at the center of the mysteries-the surname Scarlet. A couple of the original Sir Doyle stories of the perceptive detective include the word scarlet. Perhaps most notably A Study in Scarlet. Delany has set Gemma’s home and livelihood not far from Salem, Massachusetts which was once home to The Scarlet Letter author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Delany’s fictional Scarlet House is set on Cape Cod with the rest of the story.

Readers are only taken to the Queen’s court through storytelling about a stolen jewel, a missing maid, and a ne’er-do-well Scarlet ancestor.

What did take me by surprise was that Delany introduces a large plot shift three-quarters of the way through the book when she has Gemma’s sister Pippa show up unexpectedly at the door. No one, including Gemma, gets to know exactly what Pippa does for a living only that she is connected to powerful people and resources like the royal family.

Pippa is a bit like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark. You need something done? All it takes is a phone call from her. It does make for easy outs. As like Tony Stark, when she hangs up the phone and then you and your crew are immediately promised safety, that’s a convenient way to move the plot without intricate details of espionage, diplomacy, paperwork, or other silly things of the real world.

Jayne Wilson is considered Gemma’s Dr. John Watson. She doesn’t have a big role in this particular story. In fact, her mother Leslie becomes Gemma’s connection to the Historical Society. that has asked her to investigate spooky happenings at Scarlet House.

Gemma and Pippa play off each other well. They have competitive natures but are still playful-maybe not like kittens exactly, but more like lion cubs.

Rating: 5 stars

five star rating

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