Senior solicitor Reggie Heath’s honeymoon with actress Laura Rankin turns into a criminal mess that cries out for the gifts of Sherlock Holmes.
Reggie, with Nigel, his brother and junior colleague, answers the letters benighted souls are still writing Sherlock Holmes. But the letter that precipitates this case is one Reggie doesn’t see till after it’s taken dramatic effect, a plea for Holmes to bring Scarecrow out to the village of Bodfyn, where something is terribly wrong. Scarecrow was her fellow students’ nickname for Laura when, as Laura Penobscott, she attended Bodfyn boarding school, and she’s the person who improbably takes custody of the letter. Since she and Reggie are already on the run from the paparazzi her disappointed suitor, Lord Buxton, has set on them to dog and trouble their every move, she has no compunctions about escaping from her paparazzi-infested wedding to Reggie aboard a tiny plane she flies to Bodfyn, where Mrs. Hatfield, her old drama teacher who’s artistic director to a regional theatrical company, beseeches her to step into the role of Lady Macbeth because Melanie, the actress originally cast in the role, has become unavailable. In fact Melanie’s not indisposed but murdered; her death is clearly the terrible wrong at Bodfyn; and there’s every indication that her killer has an eye on Laura as well. Her only hope is not her bridegroom, who’s worse than useless, but Siger, the inquisitive old busker with a history at the Baker Street Law Chambers (The Baker Street Jurors, 2016, etc.), who returns to sweep Lois, the Heaths’ secretary/clerk/receptionist, up with him in an equally charged and daffy journey to Bodfyn.
Despite many of Robertson’s trademark witty touches, the slapdash plotting, florid coincidences, and unbelievable motive of the culprit make this the weakest of his six après-Holmes pastiches. Wait till next year.