Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review: The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson (Baker Street Letters #5)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Interesting court case and fun characters
Cons: Makes little of the Holmes premise/tie in
The Bottom Line:
Nigel on jury
Sherlock ties are weak at best
Average entry

Deadly Jury Duty in England

While I’ve read very few of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I’ve enjoyed many of the modern takes on his legacy.  One of the most creative is the Baker Street Letters series, which features two brother lawyers in England who have to answer the letters people write to Sherlock Holmes.  The Baker Street Jurors is the latest in the series, but it doesn’t live up to its potential.

With Reggie and Laura on their extended honeymoon, this book focuses on Nigel, which is only fair since he was absent for most of the last book.  He’s back in London full time now since his girlfriend in Los Angeles has broken up with him.  He’s actually living in the law offices since he has nowhere else to go yet.  The trouble begins when the Crown sends two jury summons to the law office – one for Nigel and one for Sherlock Holmes.

While Nigel dismisses the one (even going so far as to turn it into a paper airplane), he has to show up and winds up on the trial of the century.  Cricket star Liam McSweeney is being tried for murdering his wife.  There have already been two mistrials, and Nigel is seated as an alternate for the third trial.  With an international cricket match coming up, the media is crying for Liam to be allowed to play and acquitted of the crime he couldn’t have possibly have done.  Or could he?

The books in this series have wonderful premises, and the idea of Sherlock Holmes getting a jury summons thanks to a clerical error is another fantastic one.  Sadly, the book doesn’t really deliver on that premise.  It’s fairly obvious to us early on what is happening, and there are no twists along the way, and even what is set up in under used.

However, we get the actual mystery of the trial.  Even though the main characters are lawyers, this is the first time in the series that we spend much time actually in court, and that was fun.  The way the case unfolds and the events happening outside the courtroom are actually quite fun and engaging.

Nigel is almost completely surrounded by new characters in this book.  No, we don’t get to know all the jurors, but we do get to know several of them, and I really liked them.  The book is about the jurors as much as the case, but we get some insights into the players involved in the crime as the book unfolds as well.

If this were a book in a different series, I would have enjoyed it more.  But since The Baker Street Jurors didn’t really capitalize on the premise, the result is only average.

While this book wasn’t the best, don’t miss the fun of the earlier books in the Baker Street Letters series.

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