Title: The Baker Street Letters (Baker Street
Author: Michael Robertson
Reader: Simon Vance
Audio published: May 29, 2009 by Blackstone Audio
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
In Los Angeles, a geological surveyor maps out a proposed subway route–and then goes missing. His eight-year-old daughter, in her desperation, turns to the one person she thinks might help–she writes a letter to Sherlock Holmes.
That letter creates an uproar at 221b Baker Street, which now houses the law offices of attorney and man about town Reggie Heath and his hapless brother, Nigel. Instead of filing the letter like he’s supposed to, Nigel decides to investigate. Soon he’s flying off to Los Angeles, inconsiderately leaving a very dead body on the floor in his office. Big brother Reggie follows Nigel to California, as does Reggie’s sometime lover, Laura—a quick-witted stage actress who’s captured the hearts of both brothers.
When Nigel is arrested, Reggie must use all his wits to solve a case that Sherlock Holmes would have savored and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans will adore.
The Baker Street Letters is an okay mystery with a fun Sherlockian hook.
Setting: The setting at the start of the story is part of the hook. Lawyer Reggie Heath has rented office space on Baker Street and included in the lease is the responsibility to receive all letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes and send out the standard reply.
Reggie’s brother, Nigel, takes his job of dealing with the Sherlock letters a little too seriously though, which sends him across the ocean to LA to help a woman who sent a letter when she was eight and her dad went missing. A recent request has him questioning whether she might actually still be in danger. Contemporary LA forms a good backdrop for the remainder of the book, construction, smog, homeless people. I’ve never been to LA, but recognize some of the landmarks from other books, specifically Connelly’s Harry Bosch Series.
Main Characters: Reggie and Nigel are brothers and in many ways quite the opposite of each other. Nigel is more idealistic, more likely to take chances. Reggie is more stable, a little arrogant, feels he needs to save his brother. I liked them both honestly, even though Nigel is mostly missing in the story, first disappearing to La, then getting arrested, and then kidnapped. No wonder, Reggie feels he needs taken care of.
Laura is Reggie’s partner in the investigation. Even though she’s an actress, she’s logical and practical, and honestly cares about both of the brothers.
And I have to say I love the dog. You’ll know him when you meet him.
Plot: The plot starts off a little flimsy, but so do many amateur detective novels. Would Nigel really take off halfway around the world on a hunch? Maybe.
The mystery itself is not very Holmesish although Laura’s characters does get a few good deductions in that lead them in the right direction. I started to write that a lot of the “solving” is thanks to coincidence and luck but that’s not really true. It’s more due to perseverance and luck.
The plot kept me involved and there was a pretty good climactic scene near the end.
Reader: Simon Vance does a good job, as usual. I think he nailed Reggie’s voice and personality, his insecurity and conceitedness.
Recommendation: This one doesn’t make my “you have to read this list.” However, if you’re like me and anything with Baker Street calls to you, it’s enjoyable.
Baker Street Letters Series
- The Baker Street Letters
- The Brothers of Baker Street
- The Baker Street Translation