Tag Archives: Michael Robertson

A Puzzle Worth Pondering

Baker Street Jurors

The Baker Street Jurors: A Baker Street Mystery by Michael Robertson (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 260 pages)

A tall, fiftyish man, clean-shaven, with a thin, aquiline nose stepped into line behind Nigel. “Bloody Hell,” he said, “Is this really the jurors’ queue?”

“I’m afraid so,” said Nigel. “It’s enough to make you want to commit a crime of your own, just to get inside and be warm.”

Author Michael Robertson picks up right where we left off with his fifth installment in the Baker Street Mystery Series. Robertson maintains his crisp sense of humor while delivering a puzzle worth pondering. The books are ideal to take along for a weekend in the country or at the shore. [Or to jury duty!] No need to muddle through the travesty that is the 2016 U.S. election campaign season or the seeming endless reports of man’s inhumanity to man broadcast on CNN. A quick trip to London will be a refreshing change even though it, too, deals with murder, although on a small scale.

Reggie Heath, Queen’s Counsel, and his bride, Laura Rankin, are on an extended honeymoon. Brother Nigel Health has decamped from the U.S. and now makes his home in one of the offices at 221B Baker Street, in Marylebone. An official jury summons is in the morning’s mail; however, the person being summoned is none other than Sherlock Holmes. Nigel makes quick work of fashioning the summons into an airplane and sends it out the open office window toward the street below. His own jury summons is within the stack of mail awaiting him and thus begins another engaging look at the British court system, albeit from the perspective of the jury rather than Reggie’s Queen’s Counsel view.

Baker Street Jurors back

The jury panel members and alternates, of which Nigel is one, endure unusual circumstances and even great peril as they work their way through the evidence presented by the prosecution in the case against Liam McSweeney, a celebrated cricket player accused of murdering his wife. The book is definitely an homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. That’s enough of the plot. No need to spoil the fun. Great fun.

Highly recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

This book was released on July 19, 2016.

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Found In Translation

The Baker Street Translation: A Mystery by Michael Robertson (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 288 pages)

The Baker Street Translation

Author Michael Robertson crafts a charming series set in London based on a famous locale – 221B Baker Street. As any mystery/crime fan knows, that’s the address for Sherlock Holmes. The sleuthing duo for the Baker Street series consists of Reggie and Nigel Heath. Reggie, a barrister, keeps offices at the famous address. Reggie’s love interest, Laura Rankin, is torn between two suitors. Laura’s other suitor, Lord Robert Buxton, is a self-serving tabloid publisher who is easily deluded. Since he is ridiculously wealthy, what better name than Lord Buxton, a brand of wallet! Nigel has moved to the USA and is often called back to the United Kingdom to assist in solving the dilemmas Reggie becomes entangled in due to the Sherlock Holmes connection.

As usual, the intertwined plot lines are charming but a bit simple. The characters are perfect for the tale. Reggie enjoys swooping around corners and through the streets of London in his Jaguar. Laura is a beautiful movie star and the secondary characters are a bit eccentric. There’s an odd request made to Sherlock Holmes from a language translator, an elderly wealthy American woman wants to bequeath her estate to Homes and Lord Buxton goes missing.

The dialogue and scene descriptions contain plenty of puns and double entendres that enrich the reader’s experience. The story picks up where the prior book left off; however, readers new to the series will have no trouble following along. The book reads like a movie or TV show with a somewhat comical and stilted feeling. It’s reminiscent of a series written by astrologer Mitchel Scott Lewis that center around horoscopes – Death in the 12th House, Murder in the 11th House.

The newest addition to the Baker Street series is perfect for leisure reading! Cheerio.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

This book will be released in a trade paperback edition ($15.99) on February 25, 2014. A prior book, The Brothers of Baker Street, was reviewed earlier on this site:

https://josephsreviews.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/baker-street/

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Baker Street

The Brothers of Baker Street: A Mystery by Michael Robinson (Minotaur Books; $24.95; 274 pages)

“Everyone is entitled to the best defense available.   That doesn’t mean everyone is entitled to me.”

Snappy dialogue and well-described characters make this a charming riff on the legendary Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries.   Of course, the opening of the story is set in a privileged, upper class English home where a servant is tending to the needs and desires of an unidentified central figure.   The reader is not provided with any clues regarding the gender or age of the homeowner, nor the reason for their interest in the Daily News, a tabloid of sorts.

There is a direct tie to the 19th century literary character Sherlock Holmes that the reader discovers when the main character of this mystery novel, Reggie Heath, drives his Jaguar into the neighborhood where he works.   The office is located at 221 B Baker Street, London.   Reggie is a barrister, someone in the legal profession who represents lawyers in court.   This seems convoluted and layered, and it is distinctly British.   The office lease for this historic address comes with special terms and conditions.   Writers of letters to Sherlock Holmes, and there are many, must receive a timely written reply.   Reggie’s brother Nigel, who lives in the United States, is responsible for the replies; however, Nigel must return to London in order to play a part in the action in this story.

In the first book of this series, The Baker Street Letters, a letter for Sherlock Holmes drew Reggie to California.   Moreover, the chaos that ensued depleted his bank account and nearly ruined his reputation.   As is frequently the case with British mysteries, the mundane details are glossed over in favor of creating an illusion of surreptitious and clandestine meetings, great chases and general gallivanting about the countryside.   Happily, there are enough wonderful examples of these features to satisfy the reader’s need for a Holmes-like experience.   As always, a London taxi, actually a legendary Black Cab, features prominently in the action.

Author Robertson sets up duels of wits between Reggie and several other characters.   One of these characters is a modern day version of Holmes’ nemesis Professor Moriarty.   This reviewer refuses to divulge any more about the plot as it is engaging and deserves not to be spoiled.

Well recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by the publisher.   The Brothers of Baker Street will be released on March 1, 2011.

“An extremely clever evil scheme will delight readers.”   Publishers Weekly

 

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