|Louis Quinn and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in "The Baker Street Caper" |
Memory can be a fragile thing, but a memory of an old TV show that I carried with me for years led to one of my mystery novels.
As a kid I was a huge fan of the detective show "77 Sunset Strip" (1958-1964) and also of Sherlock Holmes. The two came together in a 1962 episode of the series called “The Baker Street Caper.” The storyline has the major continuing characters all going to London on a case – even Roscoe, a racetrack tout played by Louis Quinn.
Roscoe was my favorite, so I was delighted when he helped to solve the mystery as a result of reading the classic Holmes story “Silver Blaze.” Near the end of the episode he is crushed when private eye Stuart Bailey (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.) tells him that Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character.
Although Roscoe hangs his head in dejection at this disturbing news, the episode ends with a shadowy figure in a deerstalker cap and curved pipe getting to a cab and directing the driver to Baker Street.
The show stuck with me, and so did the idea of writing my own “Baker Street caper” of sorts. And 51 years after watching that episode of "77 Sunset Strip," TheDisappearance of Mr. James Phillimore appeared. The only thing it has in common with its inspiration is the transplantation of my characters to Baker Street, but it still fulfills a small dream of mine.
Sometimes things take awhile. I’m glad this didn’t take any longer.