“Moriarty Returns a Letter” by Michael Robertson (Minotaur Books, 263 pages, in stores)
An American Pinkerton works undercover in London in the 1890s. An illiterate tough is clever enough to figure out that everyone tied to the undercover agent ends up nicked by Scotland Yard.
In a moment of desperation, the Pinkerton claims to be Professor Moriarty — the villain in the Sherlock Holmes stories appearing at that time in The Strand magazine.
The Pinkerton's plan had a fundamental flaw: The most recent story in The Strand ended with Sherlock and Moriarty going over Reichenbach Falls.
Thus begins “Moriarty Returns a Letter,” which moves in time from the 1890s to the 1940s and then the 1990s. The first two books in the Baker Street Mystery series occur exclusively in the 1990s, so the time element brings a new facet to the tale — offering a back story for much of what happened in the second mystery.
Barrister Reggie Heath has offices where 221B Baker Street would be.
For that reason, he receives letters addressed to Sherlock Holmes. His office location and a misunderstanding of what happened in the 1890s with the Pinkerton lead a troubled young woman to believe that Reggie is, in fact, Sherlock Holmes — and that she is a descendant of Moriarty.