Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review: The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

The Baker Street LettersThe Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book. The premise: brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath rent (well Reggie does and Nigel works for him there) 221B Baker Street which comes with the responsibility of replying to the multitude of letters that are still sent to Sherlock Holmes. Usually, by a form letter. How awesome could that be?

Reggie is the responsible brother while Nigel is painted as the somewhat flakey, not quite black sheep, brother. While waiting to hear whether he can continue with his career, he’s working in Reggie’s law office and is responding to the letters. He comes across several letters that aren’t what they seem and tracks down the original. He then harks off to the U.S. to find the letter writer and try to help her.

That’s the last we really see of Nigel. The rest of the book, which is most of it, focuses on Reggie’s search for Nigel and he is the one who ends up working on the case from the letter that he really didn’t want to know about. His girlfriend, Laura, helps him out, but that’s a relationship that’s a little on the weird side at the moment. Reggie and Nigel do cross paths briefly a couple of times, but in the end it’s Reggie, not the brothers together, who works out the solution to the problem. However, he’s left with his own problems for doing this and nothing involving Reggie, Nigel, Laura, or Reggie’s problems are resolved in the end.

Not only do we not get the brothers, but we also get cops, on both sides of the pond, that are written as the typical know it all and “don’t need to hear you side of the story” cops. Obnoxious both of them. We also don’t really get to know the letter writer or her current story, though apparently Nigel does.

Overall, the mystery was okay, but, it didn’t deliver the story one thought it would and in the end it was a bit disappointing. Still debating as to whether or not I’ll read the second book in this series.

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Book Review: The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the VicarageThe Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first discovered Agatha Christie in high school and read right through all of them. Lately, I’ve been watching various adaptations of the Mrs. Marple mysteries from PBS Mystery! and decided I wanted to see how they compared to the books. I started with the first Mrs. Marple. An enjoyable read. Not anything that left me sitting on the edge of my seat, but a good mystery. It, however, did not focus on Mrs. Marple, she was almost secondary. The mystery is narrated by the vicar, whose home (the vicarage) is where the murdered occurred. I did have a gap in reading this and was able to pick up where I left off, however, there are a lot of characters and sometimes I had to think about who was who (but, this could be due to the gap in reading).

Overall, it’s a good mystery with an unanticipated ending and Mrs. Marple did do the big reveal. And, yes, the PBS Mystery! did stay true to the novel -- at least the movie with Joan Hickson as Mrs. Marple (who, in my opinion, is by far the best Mrs. Marple).

I will be adding another Mrs. Marple to my to-read list just to see if the narration continues to be done by someone other than Mrs. Marple. Really, though, in the end, you can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie.

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