The Case of the Baker Street Irregular

The Case of the Baker Street Irregular

by Robert Newman

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Overview

The Case of the Baker Street Irregular by Robert Newman

A mysterious, broken-nosed cabby, a beautiful actress, and a villainous art heist have one thing in common—but the only one man who knows what it is has methods that are a little, shall we say . . . irregular

Late Victorian London: home to gas streetlights, bands of ragged urchins, and now, young Andrew Craigie, who recently arrived from a tiny Cornwall village with his stern guardian, Mr. Dennison. At first the city feels dark and unwelcoming, but just around the corner is bustling Baker Street, where Andrew meets his first friend, Sara. Before long, London becomes downright interesting.
 
But things get a little too exciting one night when Mr. Dennison doesn’t come home, and suddenly Andrew is on his own. Whom can he turn to in a strange city? Frantic, he goes to the tall, pipe-smoking, hat-wearing man at 221B, a man who Sara says is a famous detective—a man named Mr. Holmes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497685963
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Series: Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 222
Sales rank: 1,115,411
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.

Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.
Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.
Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt

The Case of the Baker Street Irregular

Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt, Book One


By Robert Newman

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1978 Robert Newman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-8596-3


CHAPTER 1

A Walk on Baker Street


Andrew had expected London to be large. He had not expected it to be frightening. But as the green fields gave way to seemingly endless rows of small, mean houses he began to feel uneasy. And when the train, moving more slowly, entered the dim vastness of the station and even the sky disappeared, his uneasiness increased. Of course it was all new and strange, but there was more to it than that. He was not sure exactly what it was that he found so disturbing, but he felt more lost and vulnerable than he had at any time during the past months.

The train stopped with a clash of buffers.

"Paddington!" shouted the guard.

Mr. Dennison took his portmanteau down from the net rack overhead, and Andrew took down his smaller bag. Mr. Dennison opened the door, and they stepped out on to the platform. The grimy roof arched over them, holding in and accentuating the noise: the babble of voices, clatter of baggage barrows and the hiss of steam from the still panting engine.

A porter eyed them hopefully, but Mr. Dennison ignored him and led the way toward the exit. For some reason Andrew found this reassuring. He might not like Mr. Dennison, but as long as he was with him he was safe. They surrendered their tickets at the barrier and went out to the street. Several four-wheelers—which Andrew knew were called growlers—and a few of the more graceful two-wheeled hansoms were lined up there. Andrew hoped they would take a hansom. He had never seen one before, much less ridden in one. But Mr. Dennison led the way to one of the growlers and said, "How much to twenty-four York Street?"

The cabby looked at him shrewdly—at his worn travelling ulster, his portmanteau and Andrew's old-fashioned bag—and said, "That'd be one and six, sir."

"It should be a bob."

The cabby shrugged.

"All right, guv'ner. Make it that."

They handed up their luggage and got it. The cabby flicked his whip, clucked to the bony horse, and they moved off into the traffic—the drays, hansoms, and brightly-colored, horse-drawn omnibuses—that clattered and rumbled by under the iron standards of the gaslights.

Sitting close to one of the windows, Andrew looked out at the buildings, the shops and the people—more people than he had ever seen before in his life: beggars, crossing sweepers with their brooms, ragged boys with shoeshine boxes, women wrapped in shawls, and anonymous men wearing caps or billycock hats. He was tired and hungry—it had been a long trip from Penzance-and he found the drab streets near the station depressing, but that was not what made him anxious, for he felt no better when they turned into a tree-shaded avenue that was lined with imposing houses. Then suddenly the reason for it came to him. London frightened him because it was what he had always sensed the world to be: not only huge and full of strangers, but strange in itself, impossible to comprehend. In Gorlyn, because it was so familiar and because he had not looked beneath the surface, the strangeness was hidden. Here it was open and naked, surrounding him.

It took about ten minutes to get to York Street, which was quiet and residential. The growler stopped in front of a four-story brick house and they got out. The cabby lifted down their bags and Mr. Dennison paid him. The cabby looked at the coins in his hand, at Mr. Dennison, then said dryly, "Thanks, guv'ner," and drove off.

It was clear that if Mr. Dennison had tipped him at all, it was a very small tip, which did not surprise Andrew. He was used to living modestly—his Aunt Agnes had been very careful about money—but she had been wildly extravagant compared to Mr. Dennison. That was why he had been so puzzled when the schoolmaster had said he was taking him to London. On the other hand, Mr. Dennison had done several surprising things during the past six months, the most astonishing of which had been to take Andrew in to live with him after Aunt Agnes had died.

A plump, pleasant looking woman opened the door almost immediately after Mr. Dennison tugged at the bell pull.

"Mrs. Gurney?" he asked. And when she nodded, "I'm Herbert Dennison and this is my ward, Andrew Craigie."

"It's nice to meet you, sir. I've been expecting you."

"I take it that you received my letter, then."

"I did. Your room is ready. Will you come this way?"

Picking up their bags, Andrew and Mr. Dennison followed her in and up a flight of stairs. She opened the door to a large room that faced York Street. After the simplicity of the cottage in Gorlyn, it seemed lavishly furnished to Andrew. For there was not only a bed, a couch, a table, desk and several arm chairs in it, but the floor was carpeted.

"You said your young friend would not mind sleeping on a couch," said Mrs. Gurney as Mr. Dennison looked around.

"I'm sure he won't. This seems quite satisfactory."

"Then, as I wrote you, my terms are a week paid in advance."

"Oh, yes. Yes, of course." And with barely noticeable reluctance he gave her a pound note and some change.

"Thank you, sir. Now would you like tea?"

"We would indeed." Then as a bell sounded outside, "Is that the muffin man?"

"It should be." She went to the window where Andrew was watching a man in a long apron coming up the street carrying a basket covered with green baize and ringing a brass bell. "Yes, it is. Would you like muffins with your tea?"

"If it's no trouble. They're one of the many things I've been missing since I left London."

"Then you shall have them. I'll be up shortly."

Mr. Dennison took out his wallet again after she left and counted the money in it. Then, catching Andrew's eye, he forced a smile.

"Sorry, Andrew," he said in his meticulous drawl. "I'm afraid I've been rather neglecting you. What do you think of our metropolis?"

"I don't really know, sir. I haven't seen very much of it so far."

"That's true. And I think we should do something about that. We'll go out for a bit of a walk later on."

There was cake as well as toasted muffins for tea, and though Mr. Dennison seemed as lost in his own thoughts as he had been during their journey from Cornwall—as he had been, in fact, for several weeks before it—he ate with as good an appetite as Andrew. When they were finished, he led the way out of the house and up York Street to a wide thoroughfare which, according to a street sign, was Baker Street.

It must have been close to six o'clock by now, but traffic was still heavy and the sidewalk was crowded with people, mostly well dressed but with a scattering of ragged urchins among them, who either walked briskly or sauntered, looking in the shop windows.

Mr. Dennison turned left. His pale face was suddenly eager and intent, and he walked quickly, hardly aware it seemed, that Andrew was with him. As they passed a sedate brick and stone house in the middle of the block, the door opened and a pair of striking looking men came out. One was tall and lean with a hawklike face and piercing grey eyes. The other was shorter and more heavily built with a clipped military mustache and a face like an amiable bulldog. They both wore frock coats and silk hats and they were apparently in a hurry. The tall, hawk-faced man put two fingers to his lips, whistled shrilly, and a hansom cut in sharply in front of a bright green omnibus and drew up at the curb. Ignoring the fury of the omnibus driver, the cabby pulled the lever that opened the half door, the two men got in, and the hansom was off, rocking and swaying but moving swiftly through the traffic.

Mr. Dennison had gone ahead as Andrew paused to watch this. But when Andrew hurried to catch up with him, he found that Mr. Dennison had stopped also and was standing in front of a door with a brass plaque beside it that read: STROUD AND DEXTER, SOLICITORS. He glanced at this, at the windows above, then, apparently remembering Andrew, he turned and said, "Oh, there you are. What would you like to do now?"

"I don't know, sir. You said we'd go out for a walk."

"I also said I'd show you a bit of London. Well, let's see. This is Marylebone Road here. And over there," pointing to an imposing brick building across the road to the right, "is Madame Tussaud's. You've heard of that, haven't you?"

"No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't."

"Oh? Well, it's a famous museum, filled with full-sized wax figures of ancient and modern notables. Very educational. You'd probably be particularly interested in the Chamber of Horrors that contains, not only the effigies of notorious criminals, but the guillotine that decapitated Louis the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette. We'll have to go there sometime."

"Yes, sir."

"Up ahead is Regent's Park. We'll have to go there also, visit the Zoological Gardens. Now let's go the other way."

They turned and walked back down Baker Street, past York Street, past a large and handsome square to Oxford Street, which was even wider and busier than Baker Street. During this time Mr. Dennison had not said another word to Andrew. But now, turning to him, he said, "I think that's enough for today. There are some things I must do. You can find your way back to Mrs. Gurney's, can't you?"

"I think so, sir."

"Good. Tell her I won't be there for supper, probably not until quite late. I'll see you in the morning."

"Yes, sir."

Andrew watched him stride off, then turned and went back up Baker Street. He walked more slowly this time, marvelling at the number of shops and their variety; a furrier, a photographer, a shop that sold china and glass, and something called the Baker Street Bazaar that seemed to sell almost everything. Just before he reached York Street a shop on the other side of Baker Street caught his eye and he crossed over to it, dodging the hansoms, four-wheelers and omnibuses.

The sign over the door said JONATHAN WALKER, IMPORTS AND EXPORTS, and behind the large window was a strange and wonderful collection of objects: Oriental rugs and curious curved swords, brassware and pewter, glass vases and figures, scarabs, cameos and musical instruments. Andrew stood there for some time, wondering where the various things came from, then crossed back again, went up York Street and pulled at the bell next to the door of Number Twenty-four.

He heard it jangle somewhere in the distance, and after a moment Mrs. Gurney opened the door.

"Oh, it's you," she said. "I didn't realize you'd gone out. Are you alone?"

"Yes, Mrs. Gurney. Mr. Dennison said to tell you he wouldn't be back for supper."

"Ah. And when would you like yours? I expect rather soon."

"It doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters. Growing boys are always hungry. At least mine always were. Well, if you'll go up, I'll be along shortly."

Andrew went up to the room, and a few minutes later Mrs. Gurney entered carrying a tray, which she put down on the table.

"I hope you like veal and ham pie," she said.

"Yes, I do."

"And bread pudding?"

"Yes."

"Well, sit down and eat. I'll make up the couch for you in the meantime."

While Andrew was eating, she took linen, a pillow, and a blanket from a large wardrobe.

"Mr. Dennison said your name was Craigie."

"Yes. Andrew Craigie."

"That would be Scottish, wouldn't it?"

"Yes."

"You don't sound like a Scot."

"I don't suppose I do. I've lived in Cornwall all my life."

"Where in Cornwall?"

"Gorlyn. It's a small village near Penzance."

"Ah, yes. That was the address on the letter Mr. Dennison wrote me. A pleasant gentleman, he seems. Here on business, is he?"

"Yes. At least, I believe so."

"What did he mean when he said you were his ward?"

"I think he meant that he's been taking care of me. I've been living with him ever since my aunt died."

"Your aunt? What about your parents?"

"My father's dead also. And my mother's been away for some time."

"I see. I'm sorry. Is Mr. Dennison a relative then?"

"No. He was one of the masters at school. He taught me there at first and then later at home."

"Ah. A tutor, like."

"Yes, I suppose so."

"I thought he talked like a university man. Well, it's all very interesting. I wasn't trying to pry, you understand, but I do like to know something about my roomers."

"Yes, of course."

She had finished making up the couch by now.

"It's getting a bit dim in here. Wouldn't you like some light?"

"Yes, thank you. I was wondering about that, but I didn't see any candles or lamps."

Mrs. Gurney smiled. "We're a bit more up to date than that. We have gas here."

She took a box of matches from the night table, turned a knob on a brass wall fixture over it, struck a match, and held it up under the glass shade. The room was immediately filled with soft yellow light.

"There you are. When you're ready for bed just turn this."

"Yes, Mrs. Gurney. Thank you. And thank you for supper."

"You're welcome. I'll see you in the morning. Good night."

"Good night, Mrs. Gurney."

She left, taking the tray, and Andrew went over to the window. He had no idea what time it was, but it was starting to get dark. There was a street light almost opposite him, and he was wondering who lit it and how when an elderly man came up the street carrying a pole with a hook and a brass cylinder at one end. He raised the pole, pulled something just under the glass globe of the light with the hook, and held the brass cylinder there for a moment. There must have been a lit wick inside, for the light flared even more brightly than the one in the room.

Andrew watched the lamplighter until he turned the corner and disappeared. Then, suddenly aware of how tired he was, he undressed, turned off the light and got in between the sheets on the couch.

Though he was tired, he was not sleepy and he lay there with his eyes wide open, staring into the darkness. Mrs. Gurney's questions had called up the ones he had been asking himself recently. Why had Mr. Dennison spent so much time with Aunt Agnes before she died? Why had he wanted Andrew to come live with him afterward when he didn't like Andrew any more than Andrew liked him? And why had he brought Andrew to London with him?

He had no better answer for these than he had for the other questions he had asked himself—and Aunt Agnes—for as long as he could remember.

Who was his father? Was he really dead? And where was his mother? If she really loved him, as Agnes had always insisted she did, why had it been years since she had come to see him? And if, as Agnes had claimed, she was far, far away, why didn't she write to him?

Agnes' face, gaunt and drawn as it had been near the end of her illness, came back to him. She had loved him as much as he had loved her—he knew that without any question—even though, for reasons he could never understand, she had been reluctant to show it. But she was gone now, and he had no one-no one in the world. No. That wasn't true. There was Jack Trefethen.

Andrew saw him again, looking as he had when Andrew went to say goodbye to him: big and bearded, wearing his leather apron and standing next to the anvil with his hammer in his hand. He had not been to Oxford like Mr. Dennison and, like most Cornishmen, he spoke little. But Andrew had learned more from him—and valued what he had learned more highly—than anything he had learned from Dennison.

The old familiar emotions—anxiety and anger, loneliness and resentment—began their complex assault on him and, gritting his teeth, he fought them off. He would forget his questions: would not think of what had happened to him, what he longed for and had been denied, not now. Even Trefethen—who would not tolerate softeness or anything that resembled self-pity—could ask no more of him than that. Perhaps, when they got back to Gorlyn, he could persuade Mr. Dennison to let him go live with Trefethen. If he couldn't-or if the blacksmith didn't want him—at least he could talk to him, which was more than he could do with Mr. Dennison.

A horse's hoofs clopped hollowly by. Somewhere up the street a door opened and closed. From even farther away, probably Baker Street, he could hear the rumble of traffic. It seemed to become fainter and fainter, and finally he no longer heard it.

CHAPTER 2

Screamer


Mr. Dennison finished his tea, pushed back his chair and stood up.

"Well, I'm off," he said.

When Andrew finally fell asleep the night before, he had slept so soundly that he had not heard Mr. Dennison return. And when he woke in the morning Mr. Dennison was already up, shaving, and then dressing with particular care. As usual, he had said nothing during breakfast except to tell Andrew that he would be gone for most of the day.

"Would it be all right if I went out too, sir?" asked Andrew.

"What? Where do you want to go?"

"No place in particular. I just thought I'd walk around a little."

Mr. Dennison looked at him thoughtfully.

"I can think of no reason why you shouldn't. Very well. Tell Mrs. Gurney I won't be here for lunch."

"Yes, sir."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Case of the Baker Street Irregular by Robert Newman. Copyright © 1978 Robert Newman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Case of the Baker Street Irregular 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader, I have my favorite subjects and those I can't stand. I have never been a fan of mystery, but I will admit this book was a work of art. i recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Case of the Baker Street Irregular is a riveting mystery! Robert Newman painstakingly portrays the London of Sherlock Holmes, complete with detailed setting descriptions and realistic characters. The book opens with Andrew, a young orphan, who has recently arrived in London with his tutor. This frightening new city becomes even more terrifying to young Andrew when his tutor mysteriously disappears! With the help of legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, Andrew attempts to track down his tutor-- before he, himself, is kidnapped! Andrew learns courage and perseverance, while also uncovering some secrets to his own past. We recently read the book to the fourth graders at our school, and they thoroughly enjoyed the many plot twists. There are numerous characters and plot lines to keep straight, but the suspense, foreshadowing, and cliff-hangers kept us on the edge of our seats! Although the beginning drags a bit while Newman builds his characters and sets the stage, the ending is well worth the wait!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that 'The case of the Baker Street Irregular' was a great book, a great mystery at that. The details that were incredible and thats always a great quality in a book because its very easy to picture everything. I can easily tell that alot of time and patience went into this book. Keep up the great writing and i hope to see somemore great books from you as well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am A fan of Sherlock Holmes Mystreries and htis was almost as If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had Written it!