I have just finished reading the first two books in this new mystery series, The Baker Street Letters and The Brothers of Baker Street. I’m a fast reader and so I read the first one two days ago and the second one yesterday.
My first reaction was that I quite enjoyed them. It’s a creative idea, light and easy to read. The series involves two brothers, both lawyers, who have taken over the premises at 221B Baker Street. The lease demands that they answer all letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes that arrive at Baker St. In both books I found the plot, which obviously comes from one of the letters addressed to Holmes, satisfactorily complex.
So, why does it sound like there is a “but”? Because there is one, and it’s big enough to bother me.
In the second book, The Brothers of Baker Street, on page 129, the younger brother, Nigel, is returning to his office at Baker Street. He thinks, “Perhaps the difference was that the last time he was in this lobby, he had been rushing frantically for Heathrow and the next plane to Los Angeles, with the knowledge that there was a dead body in his office on the next level up.” And on page 132, “He had not been in this office since discovering the body of the previous clerk, Robert Ocher, just a month earlier.”
But in the first book, The Baker Street Letters, page 144, Nigel is unaware of the body. In fact, he had passed Ocher in the corridor as he was leaving (or at least we have his word that this was the case). But his word is upheld at the end, on page 271, by the policeman in charge who describes how the man was killed by the murderer, after Nigel had left.
If you look at each book as a “stand alone” mystery, the mistake isn’t enough to spoil the book. But if you are reading the book as part of a series, becoming invested in the characters (which is what truly carries a series forward), then this is a BIG mistake.
When I came to that part it was like having a car traveling at 60 mph suddenly thrown into first gear. I came to a crashing halt and said out-loud, “WHAT!”. It is understandable that an editor could have missed that, especially if they had not read the first book. But the author should remember what he wrote before, I think. (Especially since this is only the 2nd book. If he was trying to remember something that happened 15 or 20 books back I might be more willing to overlook it. Who knows, I might not even notice.) Perhaps he has an explanation lined up in his third book, but it would have to be pretty good to sound true; maybe it would be best to just ignore it.
Does this mean you shouldn’t read the series? Definitely not. It’s a fun series, with a neat twist to all the Sherlock Holmes stories being currently done. I will read the next one, I am sure.