The House at Baker Street – Michelle Birkby

When Sherlock Holmes turns down the case of persecuted Laura Shirley, Mrs Hudson, the landlady of Baker Street, and Mary Watson resolve to take on the investigation themselves. From the kitchen of 221b, the two women begin their inquiries and enlist the assistance of the Baker Street Irregulars and the infamous Irene Adler.

A trail of clues leads them to the darkest corners of Whitechapel, where the feared Ripper supposedly still stalks. They discover Laura Shirley is not the only woman at risk as it rapidly becomes apparent that the lives of many others are in danger too.

As Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson put together the pieces of an increasingly complicated puzzle, the investigation becomes bigger than either of them could ever have imagined. Can they solve the case or are they just pawns in a much larger game?

It is time for Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson to emerge from the shadows and stand in the spotlight. Readers will discover that these two women are resourceful, intelligent and fearless, with a determination to help those in need . . .

Before I say anything further I must congratulate Michelle Birkby on her beautiful work and praise her for capturing all of The House at Baker Street intricacies inclusive of characters and settings and thank her for allowing me to revisit the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by British television company ITV Granada between 1984 and 1994 with her writing resembling the actors Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Rosalie Williams and Jenny Seagrove as Mary Marston (now Watson) perfectly. We all have our own idea of Sherlock Holmes and this particular adaptation is mine. I must say though that all of the books I read starring Sherlock are based on this set of characters but not all cover the time within Baker Street as well or as detailed as Birkby did and which she did with ease.

Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed The House at Baker Street

I would recommend it as naturally as I breathe, but I guess you need to at least have a slight interest in Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companions to really enjoy the beauty of the novel. I admit not everyone likes to read the same genre.

The front cover of this book shone like a beacon from the screen, I knew on sight I was in love and in anticipated breathlessness at the promise of a new Baker Street tale had to click the ‘I want it NOW’ button to add to my collection. I would also like to bring your attention to the foreword in the novel written by the author, it is worthy of you reading.

So we begin, the pages open, the spine is cracked and we settle into the comfy armchair with a cup of steaming tea ready to begin the new Sherlock Holmes adventure….only it isn’t Sherlock at all and I am reading it on kindle becoming so absorbed at that I find my steaming tea is now very cold.

Mrs Martha Hudson is a pure heroine is there ever was one, she is by far my favourite character in this new adventure and high competition for Mr Holmes himself. She is strong, reserved, composed and determined. Fiercely determined and protective of those she loves and holds dear. We hear of her life before Baker Street, before Sherlock and before Dr John Watson. We are slowly given the details of her relationship with the two solid partners in crime and allowed to bear witness to how they love her so, how she is their family, theirs to protect. We learn of the new found friendship with Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson, witness to a strong bond they have for each other and see a more personable side to Miss Irene Adler.

The Irregulars feature a main part within Birbky’s novel we see Wiggins and Billy in a light we usually do not seeing how precious Mrs Hudson is to these people and how strong a person she is in the forefront of the tale rather than stirring the tea in the kitchen and making Sherlock meals he refuses to eat.

There is nothing bold and brash about Mrs Hudson, she is quietly observant, calculating the evidence and piecing together the crime as she would clean her beloved pine table. Mary Watson is a stronger, harder in her ways kind of character but soft and gentle all the same. They make a very good pair.

The ‘case’ itself is an adventure to behold, the imagery created by the descriptive and detailed writing can be quite vivid at times and gory to say the least, but addictive and exciting as yet again and again another suspect is added to the list or another body found battered and bruised. A new adventure I recommend you read and treasure alongside the originals written by Arthur Conan Doyle before our time.

The House at Baker Street is an atmospheric novel with strong characters, stronger relationships, trust, secrets, burglary, murder, blackmail and surprising events.

 I am so hungry for more and can’t wait for book #2 to be published. Praise again to this talented new author, may she grow from strength to strength.


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