Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

Welcome to 221b, one of the most recognizable addresses in literature. In her debut mystery, Michelle Birkby takes readers behind the scenes of the lower part of that house. Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes' landlady, and Dr. Watson's wife, Mary, become amateur sleuths in the atmospheric, fascinating story, The House at Baker Street.

When Sherlock Holmes turns down a case, Mrs. Hudson and Mary Watson intercept a meek and quivering woman, knowing she needs help. Laura Shirley has received a threatening letter. Someone knows about the letters she once wrote to her first love, and that person has suggested that everything can be revealed and Mrs. Shirley's life will be ruined. The two women offer to take on the case, saying a woman's touch is needed. When they enlist the help of the Baker Street Irregulars, the street urchins who work for Sherlock Holmes, they discover Laura Shirley isn't the only one threatened. When an Irregular is injured and a suspect almost killed, Mrs. Hudson and Mary Watson know they're in the middle of a dangerous adventure.

Despite the danger, the two women keep their investigation a secret from Holmes and Watson. In the course of their research, they learn the villain has threatened or caused the death of a number of people, at all levels of society. But, it's a break in, with the help of Irene Adler, that starts to lead them to the truth. And, even then, have they really uncovered the true mastermind?

Mrs. Hudson is a wonderful narrator for this new series. She's a strong woman who has always been behind the scenes, while knowledgeable about the actions of her tenant. Now, she reveals her own longing for adventure, along with her intelligence and ability to puzzle out the clues. And, she's shown as a woman who truly cares for lost souls, from Wiggins and Billy of the Baker Street Irregulars to her new client to Holmes himself.

Michelle Birkby has remained faithful to the spirit and atmosphere of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. However, she has taken the characters, and brought a new spirit and life to them in her outstanding debut, The House at Baker Street.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby. Harper Perennial. 2017. ISBN 978006268018 (paperback), 368p.

NOTE: According to my editor at LJ, the publisher is not releasing this book. I don't know what to say. It is available in England. Try Book Depository if you want to read it.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Miranda James said...

Lesa, I wonder if the Conan Doyle estate pitched a fit and blocked the publication here. That might explain it.

Lesa said...

It could be, Miranda. I have no idea. I don't know why they allowed publication in the U.K., and not here, though.

Miranda James said...

Definitely strange, as there is a second book in the series out in the UK also.

Lesa said...

Miranda, I don't know Michelle and have never met her. But, my Tweet about it led to her checking with her editor. They thought it would be released. It could be that LJ had wrong information. We'll see what they learn. She's going to get back to me.

Cathy said...

I'd really be interested in her reply. I purchased my copy from Book Depository, read it, loved it, and ordered the second. I told my blog readers that they could go my route or buy the first when it came out here in the US in October. Now when you search for the book on Amazon, the UK edition is the only one that shows. What a disappointment!

Gram said...

I just now looked and found it at my library and put it on my list there.

Miranda James said...

As of yesterday, it is still listed in the Ingram database; the pub date is next Tuesday, the 24th, according to the information there.

Lesa said...

So interesting to see about this book. I'll be interested to see what happens.

Susan C Shea said...

Gosh, this sounds like fun. I'll look for it and keep my ears open about a US release too. Thanks, Lesa. I enjoy your reviews so much.