At your library: ‘Elementary, My Dear Watson’
special to the daily
Who is the greatest detective in the world? The answer is elementary: Sherlock Holmes, the genius, cocaine-addicted sleuth created by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Michael Robertson’s first novel in a new series, “The Baker Street Letters,” serves up Holmes with a modern twist.
Two brothers, Reggie and Nigel Heath, rent office space for their law firm at Holmes’ famous address 221B Baker Street. However, in their haste to open for business, they neglect to read the fine print in the contract (tsk, tsk), which states that they must answer any letters written to Sherlock Holmes. Even though Holmes has been dead for lo these many years, some people believe he is not fictitious, but alive and eager for new investigations.
When the brothers discover their inadvertent commitment, the landlord assures them that many of the letters are from folks who want Holmes to find their lost tabby or paranoiacs ranting about heinous worldwide conspiracies. Answering requires nothing more than sending out form letters informing the petitioners that (a) Mr. Holmes is a fictional character and (b) besides, he is dead.
Reggie, the elder and more ambitious brother, assigns this mundane task to his hapless brother Nigel. However, Nigel, who is much too sensitive to be a lawyer, decides to take his first letter seriously. He receives a new letter relating to a previous one written 20 years ago by eight year-old, Mara. Her father, a geological surveyor, went missing while mapping-out a proposed subway route in Los Angeles. Although Reggie dismisses the letters as stuff and nonsense, Nigel, like Holmes, senses something very suspicious.
Unbeknownst to Reggie, Nigel catches the next plane to Los Angeles, intent on solving the mystery and saving Mara, the damsel in distress. Reggie, who has no idea his brother is on another continent, finds a dead body in Nigel’s office. The police immediately assume that Nigel is on the lam from a murder charge. Reggie discovers Nigel’s whereabouts and promptly follows Nigel to Los Angeles in order to prove his innocence.
In Los Angeles, “the chase is afoot.”
Reggie chases Nigel. Nigel chases the damsel in distress. The damsel in distress is chased by the bad guys (who want to build a subway over a fault-line, the very same subway the damsel’s father surveyed 20 years ago.) The bad guys chase Reggie and Nigel. The police chase everyone.
To find out how justice prevails in Holmes-like fashion, check out “The Baker Street Letters” from one of your Summit County libraries.
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