Super Sleuth Settles in Jackson
By Sabra Stafford
The formidable detective Sherlock Holmes remarked several times during the chronicles of his adventures that if “you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It may seem improbable, even to the great detective that a person would find a Victorian-era London neighborhood in the midst of downtown Jackson, but that doesn’t mean it is not true.
Welcome to 221B Baker Street West, where a couple of enterprising bookstore owners and Sherlock Holmes fans have created a world above Hein and Company Bookstore that will have visitors believing they have stepped back into time and are on the case with the world’s most famous detective.
“At the time there was a change happening with bookstores and the book culture and as a business we had to find a way to adapt,” said Wolf Hein, who along with his wife Linda Hein own the bookstore.
The couple found a way to not only adapt their business in the wake of booming online retailers, but invigorate it, by tapping into society’s ongoing fascination with the English sleuth. It was a move that came straight from the heart for Linda Hein and her friend Beth Barnard as they both were devoted fans of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories.
“The two of us were meeting in little spots to talk over some of our favorite stories,” Linda Hein said. “I had the idea that we could make a little space in the upstairs our own 221B Baker Street clubhouse and invite others to join us.”
They began with a literary society that took the moniker of Holmes’ Hounds and it wasn’t long before the burgeoning society had outgrown their original space.
“They empowered us,” Linda Hein said of the fellow Holmes’ Hounds members. “At that point the gears really started turning.”
And turn they did. The trio created a destination that would take visitors into Holmes’ neighborhood, where they would not only find a detailed re-creation of his study, but shops that are inspired by characters or events from Holmes’ case files, and quite possibly one or two characters, like Linda Hein who is also known as Mrs. Hudson or Barnard as Irene Adler.
It wasn’t long before the endeavor gave life to the Baker Street Players and under the stewardship of Barnard, who serves as the artistic director, they stage several plays and murder mystery dinners throughout the year that always prove a delight to the audiences. The shops encircle the audience like a reverse theater in the round and a series of secret passageways allow the actors to move undetected from one shop to another.
The venue is open year-round and routinely draws in visitors of all ages.
“Sherlock Holmes is a cross generational character,” said Linda Hein. “Whether they are 10 years old or 88 years old, people like being a part of the puzzle.”
Holmes’ Hounds meet every other month at 221B Baker Street to discuss the cases. Members dress in Victorian attire and give character presentations. They also have guest speakers, play period games and engage in scavenger hunts, have movie nights and host three formal parties throughout the year.
The venue routinely hosts afternoon teas and can be rented for private parties. For information about joining the literary society or attending one of the teas, murder mystery dinners or plays, visit bakerstreetwest.com.
If You Go
Baker Street West Shoppes
Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Shoppe
Mrs. Hudson’s pride is placed in a good tea. In her shoppe, she sells quality English tea, tea accessories, and vintage china.
Dr. Watson’s Apothecary
Dr. Watson offers herbs and herbal preparations from his apothecary. If you are fortunate enough to find him in residence, he may even grant you a medical consultation.
Irene Adler has set up shop at Baker Street West. Her merchandise includes Victorian attire, accessories, millinery, as well as steam punk fashions.
Stewart’s Scientifics honors our first carpenter at Baker Street West, Noel Stewart. In this shop you find scientific antiques, bygone oddities, and steam punk art.
South Downs Apiary
South Downs Apiary may be Mr. Holmes’ most revered shop. Swarming with all things relating to bees, including honey, candles, soap, and jewelry.
Wiggins’ Toy Shoppe
The Baker Street Irregulars counted on every shilling Mr. Holmes would grant. Perhaps if they could, they would spend theirs in a shop like this full of antique toys, vintage novelties, and reproduction games.
The Deerstalker, designed to evoke the Devonshire moors, awakens something wild within us and taunts us with its Sherlockian inventory – books, handmade keepsakes, prints, and other collectibles are suitable for any lover of Sherlock Holmes.
The Wolf & Bear Pub
The pub is event-ready and has already seen many elbows lifting spirits at private parties and the like. Browse the shelves of antique bar ware and logo pilsners.
Baker Street Upcoming Events
A Study in Sherlock: “You Sea But You Do Not Observe” murder mystery dinner —
Sept. 8 and 15. Tickets are $70.
“Jack the Ripper: Monster of Whitechapel” —
Running from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2. Shows are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $27.50 for general admission, $24 for seniors, and $20 for students.
Day of the Dead Afternoon Tea with Senora Hudson —
12:30 p.m. Nov. 4. Call or visit online for tickets.
Victorian Carolers Dinner —
5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the National Hotel in Jackson. Features food and holiday festivities. Tickets are $75.