That title makes a wonderful double entendre!
The Final Page of Baker Street by Daniel D Victor
My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Books for my copy of this book and the dozens they have provided me over the past several years. Thanks a lot, guys!
Watson mentions once that there was more than one page boy at Baker Street, but they all were referred to as “Billy.” I recall once reading Watson refer to him as “the boy in buttons.”
When Holmes finally retired from Baker Street (and notice I did not say from being a consulting detective) there was no need for a page boy in his isolated cottage on the Sussex Downs. Yet there was one just prior to Holmes exit to beekeeping.
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" features Billy the page boy prominently. It is one of the stories that doesn’t feature Watson as the author. We are told in this book that the story was actually written by the page boy himself! That is because the page boy would go on to be the writer for another detective, Philip Marlowe. The page boy is named Raymond Chandler…
Holmes is visited by Chandler’s mother, who is worried about her son disappearing for hours at night. Holmes solves the secret Billy has been hiding and takes him on as the page boy at Baker Street.
After Holmes goes to Sussex, Billy shows up unexpected at Watson’s home after his wife has retired for the night. He has a drunken friend, one Terrence Leonard, whom he met at the man’s father-in-laws. The father-in-law is Lord Steynwood, an extremely rich and powerful editor. Billy has published poetry and essays in various papers overseen by his Lordship.
The night has ended with the very drunken Leonard falling out of his carriage, upon which his wife leaves him in the road. When she is later found murdered and Leonard flees the house, he seeks out Watson hoping to hire Holmes. Then Billy is also arrested…
The mystery is filled with false starts and red flags, as well as a red herring or two. There is the excellent return of an old foe. Sylvia Leonard’s murder sets off a string of other crimes. Holmes agrees to investigate but is later asked to drop the case. If you think he did you have never read Holmes! The building of suspense and the final review are well worth the read! Bravo!
One note: I found the following line fabulous! “His Lordship continued stroking the white cat.” Excellent!
I give this book five stars!
Quoth the Raven…