The Portia Adams Adventures
It's the 1930s and Portia Adams is a young Canadian woman with the uncanny ability to get herself in trouble with her unique brain. It’s not until she loses her mother to cancer that she discovers her connection with far away Baker Street, and starts her journey to become the greatest consulting detective since Sherlock Holmes.
Find out more about the main characters in the Portia Adams Adventures.
Download a teacher's guide for Jewel of the Thames
BOOK 1: Jewel of the Thames (includes A Case of Darkness + Unfound)
Portia Constance Adams arrives in London and the first mystery she has to solve is how she inherited the famous townhouse on Baker Street.
related posts: A Challenge for Clarity | Mme. LaPointe’s distinctive hat |
A case of darkness
Adjusting to her new life in England, Portia takes on her first real client and nearly loses that case to a criminally clever murderer.
An 8-hour train ride to visit her grandmother in Edinburgh becomes tension filled when a child goes missing and Portia’s own insecurities threaten to derail her investigation.
related posts: Nihil sapientiae odiosius acumen nimio | Illustration: Aboard the flying Scotsman
BOOK 2: Thrice Burned (includes Box 850 + Truth be Told)
The sleuth takes on the spy in this case of misdirection and the person Portia least expects becomes aware of her true origins.
related posts: Possible Artwork | Scouting Locations | Box 850 done! | A Suitable get-away car | Another little bit of Latin |
Truth be told
It was only a matter of time before P.C.Adams became sought-after, but when a photo of a trench-coat wearing man is identified as the Baker street consulting detective, time runs out to tell the truth about who the real sleuth is.
related posts: Need a bit ‘o Biblical aid my friends |
BOOK 3: No Matter How Improbable (includes Settling the Score + Principessa)
When an old friend offers an Italian escape from the limelight, Portia jumps at the chance, but the case of the blackmailing Italian almost evades her as quickly as she escaped the London press.
related posts:The gift from the Princess | Writing a ransom note | Benito Mussolini and the politics of Italy | The Italian Job | Where to luncheon in 1930s London |
Settling the Score
A triumphant return from Italy turns to lonely confusion when Portia finds herself deserted by everyone she left behind and forced to find her grandfather through the most desperate of plots.
related posts: Character Profile: ‘Bruiser’ Jenkins, What kind of death is this? | Vault technology and Banks
The world is turned on its head when someone close to Portia dies and everyone is convinced it is a suicide. Will she be able to keep her heart detached long enough to change their minds and find the true culprit?
related posts: Racetracks in Britain | Researching a cop killer’s psychology | What kind of death is this? | Portia’s Flip Flop |
BOOK 4: The Detective and the Spy (includes The Hanging Man and Lost and Found)
Annie’s father has been tried and convicted of a murder and she and Portia race to save him from the gallows.
related posts: Toronto Newspapers of the 1930s |
Lost and Found
There’s a bomber in London and Portia is one of their first victims. Without her hearing or the ability to verbally communicate with the world around her, Portia sinks into a depression she may not be able to solve.
BOOK 5: To Kill a King (working title)
Back in Toronto.
related posts: Researching Book 5 |
Meet the Main Characters
Portia Constance Adams
AKA P.C. Adams
PARENTS: Charles Eagle (deceased), Marie Adams (deceased)
AGE: in 1929 she is 19-years-old, therefore born in July 1910
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Blue eyes (from her grandfather and mother), tall, dark hair, slim build, right-handed. As of the explosion at the beginning of The Detective and the Spy, Portia has about 90% of her hearing back in her right ear, and only about 60% in her left.
LOCATION: Previously, San Francisco and then Toronto, now, 221B Baker St. London, in the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster in London
EDUCATION: Basic schooling in Toronto, along with private tutors, now in King’s College studying Law (started in 1930)
PREFERENCES: Doesn’t like the color pink, adores books and reading, is messy (in terms of living habits), doesn’t like red wine, likes champagne, doesn’t like pea soup, can’t really cook.
SOCIALLY: Until she moved to London, she had no close friends. But soon she and Brian Dawes and Annie Coleson (as of CaseBook 4) become inseparable. She now has a Bloodhound named Nerissa. She considered Chief Inspector Archer a mentor and friend and she's quite close with Beans. She briefly dated coroner Gavin Whittaker before he left her for a life of crime.
She had a brief almost-affair with a spy named Ian Lancaster while on the run from MI6 in The Detective and the Spy.
Brian Kevin Dawes
PARENTS: Eric and Charlotte Dawes.
AGE: in 1929 he is 24-years-old, therefore born in December 1905.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown eyes, 6’2″ tall, slim but athletic build, dark thick hair, dimples when he smiles, which is often, with a kind handsome face. In the latest casebook (8) he exhibits some minor form of claustrophobia while trapped in the bank vault. Over the course of The Detective and the Spy, he’s injured in the same explosion as Portia and becomes addicted to opium through the machinations of Gavin Whittaker.
LOCATION: London, lives in the lower apartment of 221 Baker St
EDUCATION: Basic schooling in London, joined Scotland Yard as a Constable in 1929.
PREFERENCES: Prefers beer over wine, favours pork over other meats, enjoys wide range of vegetables, but only really likes strawberries in the fruit category. He is also an Arsenal football fan.
SOCIALLY: Has both parents living in the downstairs apartment of 221A Baker Street with him, neither of who work, and whom he therefore supports. Dated Annie Coleson, in 1930, but they split amicably. He’s been exclusively dating Portia since December, 1934.
Annie Helen Coleson
PARENTS: Meredith Coleson (deceased), Derek Coleson
AGE: in 1929 she is 20-years-old, therefore born in May 1910.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Light blue eyes, 5’5″ tall, hourglass figure, bright blonde thick hair cut short in a pixie style, inquisitive face.
LOCATION: East end of London on Spital St. where she lives with her younger twin brothers whom she cares for in her father’s absence (he lives and works in the States and sends money back to support them).
EDUCATION: Basic schooling in London, freelanced for The Sunday Times in 1929, was fired that same year and re-hired in 1930.
PREFERENCES: Prefers white wine, enjoys shopping and clothing, favours rosewater, wears makeup and enjoys looking feminine. Out of all the characters, she suffers most from the reality of the Great Depression, trying to feed three mouths on her salary and being out of work for part of the casebook ‘Thrice Burned.’
SOCIALLY: Mother has died, father is abroad, cares for twin 12 year old brothers (in 1930) and dated Constable Brian Dawes in 1930. Father was accused of murder in 1935 and Portia got him exonerated. Pregnant in 1935 (due in March, 1936), father of the child is a politician in London.
Sergeant Jeryl Hudson Michaels
Dr. Gavin Whittaker
AGE: in 1929 he is 24-years-old, born in March 1905.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Brown eyes, 6’3″ tall, strongly built, lean, with sharp cheekbones and a naturally haughty expression.
LOCATION: London initially, and then, by the end of No Matter How Improbable, Austria and much of Europe.
EDUCATION: Scholarship student to King’s College where he excelled, and graduated at the top of his year.
PREFERENCES: Classic style, darker clothing, prefers champagne to wine, doesn’t drink beer, enjoys tea shops, drinks black coffee. Has personal interest in crimes involving poisons.
SOCIALLY: Orphaned since birth, Charles grew up never knowing his parents, and had to fight his way up the good chain, to the point that not only is he a highly respected professor in his field, but he has also made forays into the stock market that despite the depression going on around him and around the world, he has made a considerable amount of money for himself in 1930. In 1931 he is invited on a speaking tour of Austrian universities. In The Detective and the Spy, we are introduced to his fiance, a French spy named Amelie Blaise. He promptly throws her under the bus when confronted with their crimes and leaves her to be dealt with by MI5 and Scotland Yard.
AGE: in 1929 he is 41-years-old, born in May 1888.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Deep -set brown eyes, 5’9″ tall, thick through the torso (250lbs), greying hair but still mostly black .
EDUCATION: Basic schooling in London, joined the force as a Constable in 1907 at the age of 19 and has worked his way up to Sergeant. In The Detective and the Spy, he is promoted to Inspector.
PREFERENCES: Prefers beer, smokes copiously, works continuously, seems to have no social life beyond the cases he pursues and the men around him.
SOCIALLY: Parents both dead, no spouse or children, fiercely loyal to his country and the Constabulary, especially to the men who serve under him. Though he was too young to work alongside Holmes and Watson, has very strong views on both men, negative towards Holmes and positive towards Watson. He starts off the series disapproving of Portia Adams, but by the end of their third case together, has come to respect her. By the end of the sixth case he is now seeking out her aid.
In The Detective and the Spy he has started a relationship with Portia's cousin, the psychiatrist Dr. Heather Olsen.
AGE: in 1929 she is 71-years-old, born in April 1858.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Hazel eyes, steel grey hair shot with her original black, high cheekbones, beautiful skin despite her age, tall with a womanly figure. She uses a cane because of bad knees.
LOCATION: Unknown though she has homes in several European countries including the UK.
EDUCATION: Unknown, but probably a girls college and a finishing school.
PREFERENCES: Adores the finer things in life from food to wine to fashion to residences.
SOCIALLY: In every iteration of her aliases she has maintained a strong socialite presence. She has an on-again mostly off-again romance with Sherlock Holmes that resulted in her son Charles Eagle (father to Portia Adams).
Asher "Bruiser" Jenkins
A retired professional boxer, and semi-retired thief. Bruiser was his name in the ring.
AGE: in 1929 he is 76-years-old, born in September, 1853.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Of African descent, though born and raised in England. Big, close to 200lbs, about 6’2″ tall, with developed muscles, even for his age. He has cataracts, and has fractured the bones in his hands so much over the years that they cause him constant pain.
LOCATION: Brixton, London. In the downstairs apartment of a three-story house.
EDUCATION: Grade school in London, dropped out before grade 9.
PREFERENCES: Prefers beer, smokes copiously, eats well, and enjoys food. Good with his hands, and therefore takes off jobs in construction and building. Likes dogs, racing, gambling and women. His prize possession is a HMV gramophone: model 109 and his growing record collection.
SOCIALLY: Parents both dead, no spouse or children, very loyal to former partner (and perhaps paramour, that is yet unclear) Irene Jones (nee Adler), and protective of her granddaughter Portia Adams. He has spent some time in prison, probably in his twenties, and has many friends from his old life.
Dr. Henry "Beans" Beanstine
Henry Aldwin Beanstine, nicknamed ‘Beans’ by his friends, Coroner with the Metropolitan Police of London, more colloquially known as Scotland Yard.
AGE: in 1929 he is 27-years-old, born in January 1902.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Wide brown eyes, black unruly hair, thick eyebrows, 5’8″ tall, slim but well built, handsome in a boyish way, wears very thick glasses for his poor eyesight.
LOCATION: London. Lives in Piccadilly.
EDUCATION: Attended Eton College and then Cambridge.
PREFERENCES: Deferential and kind, Beans enjoys spending time with his friends, and the students at Kings College he teaches. He prefers not to spend a lot of time with his family as he is generally held in low regard because of his choice to have a profession.
SOCIALLY: Beans is the 5th son of Lord Beanstine, and Irish noble who now has a seat in the House of Lords. His mother and brothers are all still alive, his eldest brothers all holding political seats, and he being the only one who has chosen (against his family’s wishes) to ‘work’ for a living. Beans developed a crush on Portia in the ‘Thrice Burned’ that is not reciprocated. He is engaged to Lady Grace by the end of ‘No Matter How Improbable.’
No one knows what Ian Lancaster's real name is.
AGE: in 1929 he is 22-years-old, born in January 1904.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Wide brown eyes, black hair, thick eyebrows, 6'2″ tall, well built, handsome. Two old bullet wounds in his shoulder that have healed, plus the more recent scar of a bullet that grazed the left side of his torso in The Detective and the Spy.
PREFERENCES: Smart, loyal and a bubble gum aficionado (though he also likes a good cigarette).
SOCIALLY: Slightly in love with Portia Adams.
Constable Bonhomme (killed in The Detective and the Spy)
Constable Alan: 24, freckled, tall.
Constable Benson: burly 200lb red-headed constable.
Sergeant Torrens: from precinct 180
Baker Street Irregulars:
Andy: 8, Brother to Dina (working girl), hazel eyes
Dina: 17, working girl, sister to Andy (homeless kid), brunette with hazel eyes
Ginger: 27, working girl, friend to Dina, redhead with green eyes
Portia's extended family:
Emily Watson: 40, wife to Hamish Watson, mother of two kids
Sarah Watson: 34, wife to Regulus Watson, mother of two kids, green eyes
Regulus Watson: 40, youngest son of Dr. John Watson & Mary Morstan
Hamish Watson: 49, eldest son of son to Dr. John Watson & Mary Morstan
Dr. Heather Olsen: 32, daughter to the outcast son of Dr. John Watson & Mary Morstan
Mrs. Ambrose: 30, hires Portia to find her lost jewelry
Eugene Coleson: 55, father to Annie, hires Portia to save him from his sentence of death
Ian Meyers: 48, Barrister, has the particular skills of being able to tell if people are lying.
Dick McGregor: 40, Reporter for the Daily Mirror
Mr. Wigglesworth: 65, store owner with a bit of a temper.
Reverend Joseph: 45, drunk.
Alice Joseph: 44, wife to the reverend Joseph
Brianne Joseph: deceased, sister to the reverend.
Miss Wayland: 22, faints at the Ridley’s wedding reception
Mr. Alan Ambrose: 33, philandering husband
Andrea Scott: 25, famous actress philandering with Alan Ambrose
Mr. Olsen: Bank Manager