Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Michael Robertson

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-53813-2
Publisher: Minotaur

A young British barrister matches wits with a would-be Moriarty while unraveling a modern mystery.

When Reggie Heath and his younger brother Nigel set up their fledgling law practice, they never imagined how deeply their Baker Street address would embroil them in the world of detective legend Sherlock Holmes, whose residence Arthur Conan Doyle placed in the same block. The brothers' rental agreement requires them to answer all correspondence addressed to the fictional sleuth, a situation that previously led them into a dangerous Los Angeles mystery (The Baker Street Letters, 2009). Nigel, in fact, is still in California when Reggie receives a taunting letter signed "Moriarty." Reggie hardly gives it a second thought, for he's immersed in the defense of young cab driver Neil Walters, whom a mountain of evidence identifies as the man who robbed and murdered an American tourist couple in the West End, London's theatre district. The case becomes a cause célèbre in the London press, where public opinion runs strongly against Walters. An anonymous writer claims to be a witness who can exonerate Walters. Unfortunately, his letter is addressed not to Reggie but to Sherlock Holmes. When Nigel returns home to London, he's enormously helpful as a legman but catnip for the salacious media. The fits and starts of the case try the patience of Reggie's long-suffering ladylove Laura; their banter neatly counterpoints the denser, thornier progress of the case.

Robertson's sophomore effort gels in the final third, which features a thrilling climax, but not before some unsteady plotting and labored prose.