A transatlantic mystery draws two brothers into a web of murder.
When attorney Reggie Heath rents office space on Baker Street in 1997, he begins receiving letters from various places addressed to Sherlock Holmes and appealing, naturally, for his detective help. Reggie considers the letters an amusing nuisance. But his mentally fragile younger brother Nigel, who’s working as a clerk for his brother after being suspended from the practice of law for misconduct, becomes obsessed with the continuing correspondence of a young Californian searching for her missing mother. Reggie’s often distracted from his needy brother’s clashes with abrasive senior clerk Robert Ocher by his vigorous affair with American actress Laura Rankin. On the night that Laura is to return stateside for a major engagement, Reggie finds Ocher’s bludgeoned body in Nigel’s office. There’s no trace of Nigel, so Reggie covers for him. When he finds evidence that Nigel’s flown to Los Angeles, he follows, hoping to learn that his brother is innocent of murder or, failing that, is simply alive and well. Reggie’s retracing of Nigel’s footsteps takes him to a seedy hotel, another dead body and an encounter with the LAPD, who take him in on suspicion of murder. It’s cold comfort to Reggie that witnesses mistake him for his brother. Upon his release, Reggie begins sleuthing in earnest. His investigation leads to a welcome reunion with Nigel and a rockier one with his ladylove Laura.
Robertson’s sure-footed debut is lively and inventive.