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Home » Books & writing

Book Review: Michael Robertson’s THE BROTHERS OF BAKER STREET

Submitted by on March 5, 2011 – 4:01 pm 12 Comments

Wow. It feels like I haven’t written a post in a month but it’s only been six days. I’m doing a play which opened last Thursday (if you’re in L.A. and like theater, come on down!) and the days leading up to opening night were busy with tech and dress rehearsals. During downtime backstage, I did manage to read a few books and here’s a review of one, with more to follow this week.

The Brothers of Baker Street by Michael Robertson

Reggie Heath is back in London after traveling to Los Angeles in the charming The Baker Street Letters (first in this series). The previous adventure has left him broke and no longer in a relationship with actress Laura Rankin. But he still has his law office at 221B Baker Street—Sherlock Holmes’s address—as long as he maintains his agreement with management that he answers letters that arrive on a regular basis addressed to the famous detective.

But Reggie doesn’t have time for the letters. In a bid to rebuild his career, he takes on the case of a Black Cab driver accused of murdering two American tourists. Then an important clue turns up in a letter from someone claiming to be a descendant of Professor Moriarty. The letter writer also believes Reggie is Sherlock Holmes brought back to life through cryogenics and promises to avenge the professor’s death.

Though Brothers has its moments, it’s not as enjoyable as Letters partly because Reggie’s lawyer brother, Nigel, is missing for nearly half the book (he’s in L.A. with his lady friend until he’s called home to help Reggie). The dynamic between the two is part of the draw for me. Responsible Reggie is not as much fun without his eccentric brother around to frustrate him.

Laura’s relationship with the boorish Lord Buxton is also problematic. He publishes trashy tabloids, the two have zero chemistry, and she seems to prefer Reggie’s company over Buxton’s. I don’t need to see her back with Reggie—they had some problems in the last book—but if she’s only with Buxton because he has money and Reggie doesn’t, then she has become a shallow character undeserving of Reggie’s devotion.

Another issue is the lack of mystery surrounding the letter writer claiming to be Moriarty’s descendant. The identity of this person becomes quite obvious about halfway through the book, with giant clues pointing to the culprit like neon signs flashing “Villain alert!” The denouement, however, is a fitting homage to the Holmes-and-Moriarty legend. This book may be underwhelming but the brothers remain engaging characters and their connection to Holmes will have me on board when their next game is afoot.

Nerd verdict: Brothers has issues

What have you been reading?

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12 Comments »

  • jenn says:

    I have seen this and the first and really want to get my hands on them. I’m willing to forgive an underwhelming book if I know another (possibly great) one will follow.

  • Jann says:

    I’ve been reading all of the previously-unknown-to-me-authors who I hear about from you, Jen, Alafair Burke and others, as well as re-reading Crais. Having a wonderful time! Just don’t ask who my fave is because they blend together.

  • Paulette says:

    You are in a play? WOW! I am coming to see it! I will try to contain myself and behave as a proper audience member!

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Oh, wow! I look forward to seeing you! Don’t tell me when you’re coming, though, so I won’t feel any pressure thinking, “Oh no, I have to impress Paulette tonight.”

      By the way, it’s good to hear from you again. I was wondering the other day if I should send out a search party of hot guys to look for you.

  • Paulette says:

    I am sure I will be suitably impressed, but I will tell you that I will go sometime next week..break a leg! How was opening weekend? HOT GUYS SEARCH PARTY? I have been so busy, I probably would not have even noticed them. I am pathetic!

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      Opening weekend went very well, thanks. It’s always such a relief when, after months of rehearsals, we get an audience and find they enjoy what we’re doing. There’s always a possibility nobody will laugh at anything and we’re the only ones who think what we’re doing is funny.

  • Paulette says:

    hahahahaha… I am laughing already! I am giddy with anticipation!

  • Christine says:

    I’ve not heard of this author or series. I’ll have to check out LETTERS.

  • Anthony Woinich says:

    Haven’t read either but listened to both. “Letters” is better. Nigel was more fun in the first but not necessary. Having Reggie trailing a bumbling Nigel book after book would get dull quickly. Laura is with Buxton so much because so much of Reggie is “closed” to her. Knowing the villain never stopped me from watching “Columbo” back in the day. In baseball terms “Letters” was a triple and “Brothers” only a solid single. Still not an “out” and there were twists enough.

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