About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson – Every time I think there are no ideas left for using Sherlock Holmes in a mystery I am surprised. I had heard about the contemporary lawyer brothers of 221b Baker Street but did not know their connection with Holmes until I read the book.

I smiled when I read about barrister, Reggie Heath, meeting with his brother, solicitor Nigel Heath, in their new offices on Baker Street and finding out that it was a precisely drafted term of their lease that they were required to answer each letter addressed to Sherlock Holmes that came to their address. It has been some time that I came across as clever a premise for a series.

Nigel cannot bear to merely send the form letter, also required by their lease, to a woman writing from Los Angeles who has been writing letters to Holmes for 20 years since she was 8 years old. Her story about her missing father touched Nigel. Her desire to have maps returned her at this time leads Nigel to believe he should go to California to meet her.

Life is good for Reggie professionally. His practice is doing well and his investments are flourishing.

Personally Reggie is in the midst of a strained relationship with the lovely actress, Laura Rankin. Her displeasure is reflected in her willingness to take work in New York. Some of Reggie’s ambivalence results from the start of their relationship. She was dating Nigel when Reggie swept her away.

Reggie is dismissive of the woman in L.A. and wants Nigel to concentrate on a pending hearing before the Law Society over getting Nigel’s suspension lifted. Nigel’s powerful integrity had caused him to turn over a fee to the opposing side when he learned his client had acted fraudulently. He ran afoul of the Law Society when he went further with the fraud.

Reggie’s concerns are not those of Nigel. When Nigel does not show up for the hearing Reggie deftly obtains an adjournment and angrily goes to his brother’s office where he is startled to find their office manager murdered and a note from Nigel that he has gone to America. With Nigel a prime suspect Reggie chases after him.

In Los Angeles Reggie pursues Nigel which leads him into a mystery involving the construction of the new Los Angeles subway. It is a strange place for an English barrister to find himself. The story moves briskly on with Reggie gradually putting the evidence together.

Reggie is quick witted though his detecting is more physical than
cerebral. I enjoyed the book. Reggie, Nigel and Laura are charming
characters. I could not describe it a great mystery. I thought it was a
good debut and I will read the second book. I hope it may delve into
the legal careers of the brothers. No matter how I think of this book
I cannot call it a legal mystery. The brothers happen to be lawyers.
They could have been numerous other occupations such as private
detectives and the story would have worked equally well. (Aug.


  1. Sounds like a very sweet book with an original twist on a well-worn theme (Sherlock Holmes). I am not sure that I'll read it, but I enjoyed your review.

  2. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. Reggie and Nigel are certainly not hard boiled detectives.

  3. This was a charming and pleasant diversion from the usual books I read. I liked the idea and I think this is based on fact. The tenants who live in 221b Baker street may not be required to answer the letters, but I know there was someone who lived there who chose to answer all of the letters addressed to Holmes.

    I came across Robertson's book by chance in our local branch of the CPL when it first came out about two years ago. The bits about the subway reconstruction were the most interesting parts for me. The mystery aspect was above average but nothing startlingly original.

  4. John: Thanks for an interesting comment. I am not sure authors of mysteries want their books to be described as charming but it is an accurate description of this book. I was trying to think of other famous sleuth addresses but not come to mind at the moment. Nero Wolfe simply lived in a brownstone on what I think is 34th Street but I do not recall a specific address.