The Brothers of Baker Street picks up immediately where the first in this series, The Baker Street Letters, leaves off. I usually don't go into a book with a lot of expectations, but I totally went into Baker Street Letters thinking, "This is going to be awesome! Two brothers move into Baker Street, get letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes, and solve crimes together!" Which it is...and yet, somehow isn't. Brothers of Baker Street was definitely more enjoyable for me because it was more of what I expected.
The book follows Reggie Heath, thirty-something London lawyer who is having a bit of a life crisis. He's lost most of his money, his on-again off-again girlfriend is currently off-again with him and on-again with a very wealthy man, his brother's busy making love to a lovely young woman in California, and he hasn't got a single client.
Not to mention, if someone doesn't answer all those letters to Sherlock Holmes -and only with the proper form, thank you- the lease on his offices will be void and he'll be given the boot from Baker Street.
Lo and behold, an attractive young solicitor appears and just happens to have a client for him. Reggie hasn't taken a criminal case in years, but beggars can't be choosers. So he ships the letters off to his brother Nigel, not taking seriously the one addressed to him and signed Moriarty.
He should have taken it seriously.
First off, Reggie is adorable. Oddly enough, I can't get a clear picture of him when I'm reading. Sometimes, I think I should be picturing this:
|Matthew Macfadyen, Eyebrows of Awesome|
But most of the time I wind up picturing:
|David Mitchell, also with eyebrow action|
...I know. Dashing and smart suddenly gives to awkward and ruffled. Either way, Reggie is totally put upon and just wants his life to be normal and his law practice to do well. He's trying to keep his family name respectable and desperately trying to keep Nigel in line which is a job all its own. He's smart and he knows it, and he's not afraid to take on a challenge (mostly) it's just that he doesn't know what to do after he's charged up the hill.
What attracted me about Michael Robertson's writing was that his characters are real people, and he reveals them as real people through the circumstances of the plot (which can be far-fetched) and their choices. Reggie and Nigel and Laura all develop over the course of the story in a way that feels very honest. Sometimes it's frustrating, but it would be difficult to balance a proposal from a suave millionaire publisher you were fond of if you weren't sure the man you loved would ever figure out he loves you that much, too like Laura has too.
And I really like the character of Laura. She's a redheaded actress that's whip smart and six kinds of sassy. She's not intimidated in the least by anybody and she's not star struck by wealth - but she knows it would be an asset. She's a tough woman and not afraid to speak her mind.
My favorite Laura quote:
"Nigel," said Laura. "If you are now going to tell me that your touch
made a woman speak in tongues, I'm leaving the room."
Also quite a bit of trivia learned about the famous London Black Cabs which are apparently some of the safest transportation in the whole world.
I'm still not quite satisfied as far as Reggie and Nigel working together as a team. I'd like to see more of that, mainly because it would be highly entertaining.
The plot will require some suspension of disbelief, but it's well worth it.
The Brothers of Baker Street was published by St. Martin's Press (a Macmillan imprint) in 2011.
According to rumors, Baker Street Letters has been optioned by Warner Brothers for television. Perhaps Mr. Macfadyen and Mr. Mitchell can duke it out for the lead role. :D
I give it four out of five stars, and do hope that Reggie, Nigel, and Laura return for a third adventure in the near future.