Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

I didn't think Cozy Mystery Week was going to be as big of a challenge as it turned out to be! Now, I'm not a huge cozy fan at all; I like my mysteries a bit darker and bloodier as you all likely know. My original plan was to read cozy all week, knocking out some series that have been building up in the TBR. In trying to choose something to read for the week, though, I ended up doing a bit of book speed dating - starting and abandoning various titles before finding one that seemed like a good match for me. That one was... Michael Robertson's The Baker Street Letters.

Reggie Heath was unaware of the strange clause in his lease for office space at 221 Baker Street. Unaware, that is, until his brother, Nigel, pointed it out to him. For some time, the office has been accepting letters addressed to a certain famed literary detective. As part of the lease, Reggie agreed to handle and respond to the letters using a prepared form response. Under no circumstances are they ever to contact the writers of the letters. 

But Nigel becomes overly curious about one letter in particular, which turns out to be three letters in fact. Twenty years ago, a letter was sent from an eight year old in search of her missing father. Along with the letter, the child sent a number of items to help with the investigation. Now that girl wants those items back. But Nigel notices something off about these new letters and becomes convinced they aren't from the original sender. Just as he sets off to LA to dig deeper, Reggie stumbles upon a dead body on Nigel's office floor. Reggie is almost certain that his brother can't be the killer, but wonders if the letters could be to blame. Reggie follows his brother to the States and immediately becomes entangled in the mystery of the letters as well. 

So as I said, this wasn't the first book I tried on for size this week but it was the one that intrigued me most. I was pretty immediately drawn in by the characters and by the time the premise was introduced I was sold.

You don't have to be a Sherlock Holmes fan to enjoy this first outing in Robertson's series. In fact, even Holmes purists can rest easy as the only real connection to Conan Doyle's creation here is the address. You do have to be something of a mystery fan, though. The brothers Heath both have law backgrounds, which makes it easy to believe they have the means and the brains to do what they do in the book (always a plus). Nigel in particular has been in hot water of late thanks to his dogged desire to do the right thing. And of course tracking down a girl with a missing father who could be in danger is the right thing!

The Baker Street Letters is a fun and light read, nice for cleansing the reading palate after some heavier books of late. I fully intend to continue the series now that I've started. If you're interested there are four titles in the series to date (the latest out in hardcover now and due out in paperback Dec 30):

The Baker Street Letters
The Brothers of Baker Street
The Baker Street Translation
Moriarty Returns a Letter

Rating: 4/5

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