Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: Moriarty Returns a Letter by Michael Robertson (Baker Street Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and an interesting plot
Cons: I couldn’t find any; I was too busy having fun
The Bottom Line:
Sherlock’s legacy
Finding others in danger
Mystery from past

Moriarty’s Past Revealed

While I am not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan (in fact, I’ve read very few of the stories at all), I do know just enough to appreciate books like Moriarty Returns a Letter.  It takes the Sherlock legacy and puts a different spin on things with plenty of nods to the original to please fans.

For those who haven’t read the first three books in the series, it follows Reggie Heath, a barrister who happens to be renting 221B Baker Street as his office space.  Part of his lease is dealing with the letters that people write to Sherlock Holmes, a task that keeps putting him in danger.  Obviously, these books are not directly connected to Holmes, but they are fun books that dabble in his legacy in our world today (or at least the late 90’s when they are set).

However, if you haven’t read the earlier books, don’t jump in here.  You have to read the second book in the series, The Brothers of Baker Street, first.  While this is book four in the series, it acts as a direct sequel to book two and spoils much of that book.  I was happy with the refresher since it's been a couple years since I read it, but still, you’ll want to read them in order.

All that Reggie Heath is focusing on is his upcoming engagement trip with Laura to her family estate to officially announce their upcoming marriage.  Unfortunately, the Sherlock letters rear their head again as he needs to help prepare a special display with many of the old ones before he can go.

However, one of the old letters he unearths contains a secret connected to Moriarty, and events begin to unfold that might bring the secret to light.  By the time it all settles, who will be left standing?

I’m being a vague as possible in my description of the book because the fun is watching how the plot unravels.  We actually start in the past, so we know much of what is happening even if the characters don’t.  The question then becomes how will they figure it out?  As a result, this isn’t the traditional one dead body plus five suspects kind of a mystery, but the plot works well.  I always had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to see if the characters would figure it out.

Plus the characters are great.  While Reggie still isn’t a huge fan of the letters, he has softened a lot since book one.  Much of that is due to Laura, who really does bring out the best in him.  Reggie’s brother Nigel shows up again as well, although I wish he had a bigger part.  The rest of the returning characters are good and the new ones are great.  They feel like real people and are a joy to be around.

So for something different, pick up Moriarty Returns a Letter.  This is a fun book that anyone can enjoy no matter how much you know about the Holmes legacy.

Need to read in order?  Here's Baker Street Mysteries in order.

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