Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: The Brothers of Baker Street by Michael Robertson (Baker Street Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Light, fun mystery with great climax
Cons: One stumble in pacing
The Bottom Line:
More letters to Holmes
Means more danger for the Heaths
But more fun for us

Moriarty Strikes Back Against the Heath Brothers

One month, I stumbled upon a mystery that centered around Reggie Heath, a lawyer whose office is located on Baker Street in London.  He gets the letters that people write to Sherlock Holmes, and those letters get him into mysteries.  I enjoyed that book enough to pick up the sequel, The Brothers of Baker Street, a month later.  It's another fun romp.

This book picks up a couple weeks after the last book ended, and Reggie is in almost ruin.  His fortune is gone and he is having trouble getting clients.  While he has sworn off criminal law, he does agree to take the case of Neil Walters, a cabbie accused of murdering a young American couple.  The man insists he is innocent, but there really is a lot of evidence against him.

Meanwhile, Reggie's office is still getting letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes.  One is particular catches the eye of Reggie's brother Nigel.  The letter writer implies that Reggie is really Sherlock Holmes.  It's signed Moriarty.  Is someone plotting revenge on Reggie?  Will he win his case or will this be a distraction?

Some people have picked up these books thinking there will be a strong tie in to Sherlock Holmes.  While there is more of one in this book, it's still superficial at best.  This is really a light, traditional mystery that uses Sherlock Holmes as a bit of a hook into the series.

But that's not to say the story isn't interesting.  It stalled out a one point, but when it got going again, it proved to be even stronger than before.  I figured things out before Reggie and Nigel, but I had such fun proving it with them that it wasn't a problem for me at all.  The climax was riveting; it kept me glued to the page.

We got some nice character development here, too.  There's some backstory to the Heaths that really helped flesh them out as characters.  Reggie's sometimes girlfriend Laura rounds out the trio of main characters and provides some nice sleuthing as well.  In fact, this trio's interaction is quite fun.  The rest of the cast felt real to me as well.

Like the first book in the series, this book is set in 1997.  Unlike the first book, this proved to be important to the story.  In fact, there was a great technology based joke that reminds us just how far things have advanced.

The writing is great.  We get just enough description to set the scene, but then it's back to the story.  I flew through the pages, and the book was over all too soon.

This is a different take on the Sherlock Holmes legacy in our culture, and I really enjoyed it.  I'm hoping that it isn't long before we find out what happens next to The Brothers of Baker Street.

Looking for more of Reggie and Nigel's adventures?  Check out the Baker Street Mysteries in order.

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