Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Baker Street irregularities

the book:

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

published 2009  chapter 24








Surely Krendall was bluffing.

Reggie watched through the revolving window as the Hollywood sign slowly passed by.

Now the lift doors opened, and a man stepped out who Reggie guessed had to be the Lloyd’s agent – no tan whatsoever on his face, wearing a traditionally tailored Gieves & Hawkes suit, a dark narrow tie, and a Turnbull & Asser shirt that looked as if it were finally getting a bit tight in the collar, having been in use, probably for the past ten or fifteen years.

This had to be Wellingham.

The man paused and looked about – and then walked directly to Reggie’s table and introduced himself.





observations: What could be a better concept? Everyone knows that Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b, Baker St, London, and that people write to him at this address. So imagine that whoever is reading these letters starts following up on them, and gets involved in crime-solving. Regrettably, this book – first of a series – really doesn’t live up to the idea. It is disappointing, and it reads as though every so often the author suddenly remembered that he was trying to emulate Holmes, and put in a bit of detection or some clues. The rest of the time it is a routine Californian thriller, and not particularly engaging.

The author seems to be American: this blog sometimes thinks we should hire ourselves out to US writers to spot their mistakes in scenes set in the UK. Here, his character ‘navigated a little circus where three roads converged’ – we presume he means roundabout? The other error concerns a popular kind of candy: Smarties. He repeatedly refers to them as ‘chocolate Smarties’ a turn of phrase which simply doesn’t exist in UK speech – they are always just Smarties.

Links up with: This protagonist has a
smart suit too, and other carefully dressed chaps are here, here and here.

The picture is of Sidney Paget, man in a sharp suit, but also the man who did the original, iconic illustrations for the Sherlock Holmes stories. The picture can be found on
Wikimedia Commons.

3 comments:

  1. Moira - Oh, I'm sorry to hear this one didn't live up to its promise for you. It really is a fascinating concept for a novel. And I couldn't agree more about the value of being careful to ensure that the language used in a novel really reflects the setting. When it doesn't that can really pull the reader out of the story. It's a pet peeve of mine too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Moira: I equally did not find the mystery rivaled the concept but I thought it was still a decent mystery.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the review Moira. I've heard about this book but I'm not really tempted to read it. Chocolate smarties indeed!

    ReplyDelete