Wednesday, July 8, 2015

An Evening at Baker Street West

Perhaps you didn't realize that some genii has transported Baker Street from the heart of London to a remarkable bookstore in the town of Jackson, a historic town in the California foothills. There, on the second floor, a motley collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters comes together on the first Tuesday of every odd-numbered month. They belong to the Holmes Hounds, a Sherlock Holmes Society with members scattered as far away as New York and as nearby as Volcano. On even-numbered months, they enjoy mystery theater, Holmesian films, and sometimes a Victorian dinner. At all events, they enjoy a scrumptious assortment of nibbles, and a glass of fine wine. This is "Baker Street West."                                                                                                                                                                
          "Baker Street West" is the brain child of Linda and Wolf Hein, owners of Hein & Company Rare and Used Books. The bookstore is a book lover's delight. Their second floor, "Baker Street West", so far is a recreation of the living/dining room of Sherlock Holmes and and Dr. Watson's living quarters at 221B Baker Street, as well as Mrs. Hudson's Tea Shoppe. But it soon will be a recreation of a Victorian era street, with shops (or should I say "shoppes") capturing the spirit of Victorian London, and named after some of Doyle's characters.

Before the evening started. Sherlock's
quarters are behind this partition. But
this has lots of atmosphere, as you
can see. 
Members were seated and then the meeting came to order.

This list is hard to read,
but here is what you can
expect to see in the future: 

Dr. Watson's Apothecary
(herbal remedies of the day);
Irene Adler's Dress
Emporium (imagine the dresses!)
 Wiggins Toy Shoppe
(Victorian toys),
The Wolf and Bear Pub,
Southdowns Apiary
and on and on . . . . 
Holmes paraphernalia.

A character dressed for the times. 
Being a Sherlock Holmes fan, you can imagine how pleased I was to get a chance to read for this group and, plunged in the atmosphere where it really is 1895. Not to mention being surrounded by books. (My downfall. My addiction. Forget violins and the 7% solution.)

 I read two
 "excerpts". One
 was the famous
 Vincent Starrett's
 sonnet, "221B",
 shared earlier in
 the day with me and other MX authors online,
 by Amy Thomas,
 one of the Baker Street Babes. The Baker Street Babes is a Sherlock Holmes Society that you can read about HERE, and you can read this moving sonnet there as well. In a team effort, the members translated this poem into over 30 languages in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's death. When I read it, the audience was hushed.

Then I read a chapter from my book, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, which was quite rewarding, because this was an attentive audience.
Copies of my book, along with issues of The Sherlock Holmes Journal,
a quarterly  journal published by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
You don't see them, but there were some wonderful costumes

As I say, an attentive and rewarding audience.

Reading the sonnet: "2221B" (where it's always 1895).

Amy, they really liked that poem.

For someone who just loves to read, whether or not you are into Sherlock Holmes, Hein & Company Rare and Used Books is a book lover's delight. You could spend hours there, curled up on comfortable chairs, visited by the resident cats, surrounded by the wonderful musty smell of books.

And, who knows? You might find me curled up reading an irresistible book.

How about you? Are you addicted to books? Do you like used book stores? Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan?


  1. Looks like a great gathering, and nice photos!

    1. Hi, Blogoratti, My husband took the photos. The gathering was really great. It was very easy to relax while reading to them.

  2. What a wonderful establishment! Jackson's not that far --I must go see it. Would my mouse-coloured dressing gown be appropriate? Thanks so much for including so many great photos. This is obviously a labor of love for the Heins and a perfect place to promote your excellent book. Best wishes to you and Rajan.

  3. Thanks, George. I'm sure the dressing gown would work. Yes,a labor of love is a good description. But the Heins are having a great time with this. I didn't mention it in the post, but . . . there are secret passageways . . .

  4. I will definitely check this place out next time we take a drive out there. It looks like you had a very successful reading. I hope you sold a million books!

  5. Thanks for the good wishes, Rosi. A million? Nope. But I made some nice new friends. :-)

  6. Hi Elizabeth, You have quite an interesting blog here which I have found thanks to your kind comment on mine. Yes, I love books, especially rare ones and especially ones having something to do with Yellowstone National Park. I collect old books and memorabilia with a focus on YNP and the railroads that served the Park during the late 1800s and early 1900s. I am sharing some of my collection on my blog from time to time. To answer your specific question about Sacramento in the 1910s ... I have not focused on Sacramento. However, since it is on the main line of the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads I am fairly sure that some of my very early railroad brochures have something to say about the city. Thank you for the question and comment and please let me know if you have more.

    1. Hi, John, thanks so much for the visit, and for the information. I'll probably want to read some of those brochures for another book I'm writing. Have a great day.

  7. Very lovely place and you had a quite a crowd! Congratulations on a wonderful event.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Lee. Yes, it was so much fun. I expected to be nervous, speaking to all those Sherlock fans, but they were a lovely, friendly crowd!

  9. Ooh, this was fun. Thank you for bringing us along.

  10. HI, Mirka. Glad you liked it. If you are anywhere near the foothills, this store is worth a visit.

  11. Oh my gosh, I've never heard of this. What fun!

  12. Fun is the operative word, Sandra! I've never spoken to a Sherlock Holmes Society, so I didn't quite know what to expect.