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The Baker Street Letters Hardcover – June 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031253812X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312538125
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,297,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Robertson's engaging debut, the first in a projected series, offers one of the more original premises involving the Sherlock Holmes character. London solicitor Reggie Heath, who's just leased office space on Baker Street, finds his obligations include making sure letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes at 221B are answered, if with formulaic replies. After a senior clerk is bludgeoned to death and Heath's younger ne'er-do-well brother disappears, the lawyer suspects both events are connected to a letter an eight-year-old girl, Mara Ramirez, sent nearly 20 years earlier asking the great detective to locate her missing father. Heath follows the trail to Los Angeles, where he succeeds in tracking down Mara and learns current crimes may be connected with her father's disappearance. Readers will want to spend more time with the appealing Heath and company, but the conceit of having future mysteries to solve based on letters to Baker Street may be hard to sustain. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It’s a well-known and rather curious fact that some people write letters to fictional characters, that fictional creations can become so real that someone can actually believe they exist. Robertson, a first-time author, takes that premise and runs with it. Brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath are a couple of London lawyers whose offices are located in the 200 block of Baker Street. Their lease requires them to answer all letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes, 221B Baker Street. Nigel opens one such letter, and soon he’s gone, disappeared, leaving behind a dead body and a whole lot of confusion. Next thing you know, Reggie is on a plane to Los Angeles, tracking down his brother and solving a decades-old mystery. This is a very entertaining novel, lighthearted but with a solid story, and mystery fans, whether they’re Sherlock Holmes addicts or not, will thoroughly enjoy it. The book is billed as the first entry in a new series, and, judging by this installment, it should be a popular series indeed. --David Pitt

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a great idea -- that one of the modern office buildings that now occupy the space on the northernmost stretch of Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes once hung his deerstalker hat now has an obligation to respond to letters addressed to the great detective at 221B Baker Street, a century or so after his battles with criminals like the infamous Moriarty were last published. In this detective novel, which is far more cozy than Holmesian, the duty of replying to that correspondence (with a form letter) falls to a law firm run by Reggie Heath; the duty is discharged by his brother, Nigel, waiting to be reinstated with the law society after some well-intended deeds had unexpected consequences. Nigel, it seems, hasn't learned his lesson, as the exasperated Reggie realizes early in the book, when Nigel fails to show up at his reinstatement hearing. He's somehow become unduly fascinated with the Holmes correspondence, and has dashed off to Los Angeles to help an 8-year-old girl who wrote a letter pleading for help finding her father more than a decade earlier. The problem? Not only does making direct contact with these letter writers violate the terms of the Heath lease, but Nigel has left a dead body behind in his office, brained with his prize Remington sculpture.

The concept is great fun, but the plotting and writing skills fall short of what is needed to pull this off. There are some very obvious plot devices, as Reggie goes chasing after Nigel to retrieve him, only to stumble headlong into more mystery and murder. Robertson seems to be trying to emulate the style of Alexander McCall Smith's excellent Mma Ramotswe mystery stories, but Robertson's characters never appealed to me as much -- they never felt as vivid or alive as McCall Smith's, just self-consciously quirky.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Jordan Koeff on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Michael Robertson is a new and powerful writer of which I have put at the very top of my must reads. I stumbled across The Baker Street Letters while vacationing in the Bahamas and thought it would be a nice distraction - I had no idea that it would grip me thoroughly and that I would not let it out of my hands until the mesmerizing conclusion. I was hypnotized! I can understand how some might only give the fascinating The Baker Street Letters only four stars (i.e. the topic is not unfamiliar, though the treatment is fresh and and innovative) but anything less must be from those who are creatures of routine and are incapable of appreciating Robertson's unique, engrossing style, and studied pace. This man is a powerhouse! I cannot wait to read his next book: The Brothers of Baker Street. Mark my words, Robertson is in a class all his own - I can only hope we will be seeing more ground-breaking novels from him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara H. Alexander on March 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The concept was intriguing and there were moments of excellent writing, but the book needed serious professional editing. With more consistent writing and fewer unlikely coincidences, this could be an more enjoyable read. BHA
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amn.Backovich on September 23, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this very entertaining novel and thoroughly enjoyed it. The primary characters, brothers, are easy to like and the plot is a good one. Any Sherlock Holmes fan will find some pleasure in this one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lover of Books on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Robertson has an interesting premise but it seems to fall flat at times. A letter from an eight year old girl who writes to Sherlock Holmes seems a little odd at first. I took a little believability to question the fact that someone would write to a fictional character. Yet the dialogue and the story line flows fairly well.

I found Nigel to be reckless and down right annoying at times. Reggie was just trying to piece everything together. There were times that he even began to question what he was doing in America. Doubting the main reason for being there and wondering if he could help his brother out of the hole he had dug himself into. The side characters were there but never really seemed to bring the novel forward much.

An interesting premise yet it lacked something. I really liked it but the ending seemed rushed. I liked how all the pieces did finally fit together. I was pleasantly surprised with the lengths the criminals went to keep the secrets buried. A little over the top at times, but I was curious what the author had for the motives behind it all. I expected a lot more out of this book than what I got. It wasn't a book I felt I had to read just had hoped for more than what I got in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on January 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
If you are reading this expecting a smart mystery, you will be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you enjoy books like the Da Vinci Code (meaning, there's a lot of running around haplessly as terrible things happen to the protagonist that he's not in control of), then you'll like this just fine.

My main issue with the book is that the main character is an obnoxious, snobby, rich jerk who stole his brother's girlfriend and is a liar and an idiot.

It also gets tiring that he accidentally keeps stumbling on dead bodies, whereupon other people always find him and, for example, yell stupid things like "He killed her!!" and then normally apathetic people in Los Angeles go chasing after the guy in a big group. (For some reason, a famous scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers came to mind.)

After that mob scene, I stopped halfway through and skipped to the end to find out whodunit. I just couldn't handle the stupidity any longer.

It's a shame, because this is a missed opportunity. But the author clearly doesn't understand the Holmes zeitgeist. What makes Sherlock Holmes a great character is that he is SMART and is always one step ahead of the criminals.

Instead, here we have two brothers who are impulsive and sloppy - one who is a crazy idiot, and the other one who is an arrogant idiot.

There's also not much mystery here. It's more of a plotty conspiracy that becomes pretty obvious early on.

If you lower your expectations and don't think of this as anything to do with Sherlock Holmes, then you might enjoy it. if you are looking for an intelligent whodunit, this isn't it. I for one am glad I got it from the library.
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