Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon (Sherlock Holmes & Shadwell Rafferty Series #1)

Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon (Sherlock Holmes & Shadwell Rafferty Series #1)

3.0 2
by Larry Millett
     
 

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In the summer of 1994, a workman at the historic mansion of railroad baron James J. Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota, stumbles on a long-hidden wall safe. When experts arrive to open the safe and examine its contents, they make an astonishing discovery. There, inside, is a handwritten manuscript bearing the signature of John H. Watson, M.D.
The manuscript contains

Overview

In the summer of 1994, a workman at the historic mansion of railroad baron James J. Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota, stumbles on a long-hidden wall safe. When experts arrive to open the safe and examine its contents, they make an astonishing discovery. There, inside, is a handwritten manuscript bearing the signature of John H. Watson, M.D.
The manuscript contains the story of how Sherlock Holmes and Watson traveled to Minnesota to track a murderous arsonist—known only as the Red Demon—who is threatening both Hill and his Great Northern Railway. Set against the backdrop of the real, devastating Hinckley forest fire of 1894, Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon is the tense and atmospheric first novel in Larry Millett’s classic series of adventures that brought Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to Minnesota.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One of the best Holmeses since the originals." —John Sandford

"Not only is his Minnesota history excellent, but his history of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures is remarkable. A classic mystery." —Steve Thayer

"An eminently credible adventure for fans of the magnificent consulting detective." —San Jose Mercury News

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Placing Sherlock Holmes in the pineries of Northern Minnesota in 1894 may not have been a three-pipe problem for Minneapolis architecture columnist Millett (Lost Twin Cities). However, there is little here but smoke and facade. The real and devastating Hinckley, Minn., fire of 1894 serves as the historical backdrop when Holmes is hired by railroad tycoon James J. Hill to find the Red Demon, the man "who is trying to burn down one of his railroads." After arriving in Hinckley to investigate, Holmes and Watson are attacked by feared logger Jean Baptiste LeGrande and rescued by Tom "Boston" Corbett, who claims to have killed John Wilkes Booth. The Town Marshall is murdered before clues lead the London duo to identify the Red Demon and the injury that motivates his actions. The final duel between Holmes and the Red Demon on a burning trestle is gripping, but this action is too little too late. Millett capitalizes on expected Sherlockian gimmicks ("parlor tricks" of deduction, hints of unrecorded grotesque cases, Holmes's masterful disguises and Watson's pomposity) but fails to probe beneath the surface of Holmes's popular image. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
An urgent, lucrative demand from railroad tycoon James J. Hill sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the pine forests of Minnesota, which a letter-writer calling himself the Red Demon has threatened to set afire, destroying 85 miles of Hill's Eastern Minnesota Railway along with the surrounding landscape. Once ensconced in rustic Hinckley, Holmes and Watson visit a den of iniquity called Mother Mary's, where Watson's person undergoes vile indignities at the hands of Laura and Dora, the Jack Pine Twins; outfit themselves as lumberjacks ("You look quite woodsy," Watson tells Holmes) in order to confront a sinister logger in the deep woods, where they're rescued by a messiah in buckskins; and try to read the clues in the disappearance of Hill's agent and the murder of the town marshal ("MARSHAL WILLIAM THOMPSON INCINERATED IN HOME—BULLET IN HIS BRAIN—FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED," the Hinckley Enterprise sagely reports before the Red Demon can visit a gruesome, fact-based catastrophe on the train tracks, pine trees, and citizens of Hinckley.

Minnesota journalist Millett has mastered neither the cadences nor the exclusions of Watson's narrative—the story is full of tedious details Watson would have excised—but its colorful, improbable incidents and its attention to clues make it a respectable example of mid-grade Sherlockian foolery. A sequel in St. Paul is hinted.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816674831
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
04/18/2011
Series:
Sherlock Holmes & Shadwell Rafferty Series , #1
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
457,134
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Larry Millett was a reporter and architecture critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for thirty years. He is the author of fifteen books, including five other mystery novels in the series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, all forthcoming in new editions from the University of Minnesota Press.

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Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are draw backs on this book for the purists. The story itself is excellant. For those who expect Victorian values, Doyale style Holmes and Watson and a certain level of professionalism, this is not the book to purchase. Despite a truly remarkable story line, I found this story void of the characteristics so endearing in the Doyale style Holmes and Watson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Sherlock Holmes set out from London to Minnesota to help out rail road tycoon James j. hill find The Red Demon who was setting fire to the eastern Minnesota railway Holmes would soon be over his head in Trouble . With Hinkle as the setting to this mystery, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson meet many different characters which include a madam by the name of Mother Mary who owns a brothel just out side of town, the sheriff William Thomas who will do about anything for money. As Holmes and Watson begin to close in on the Red Demon they are attacked by the monster of a logger Jean Baptiste LeGrande in a remote logging camp but are saved my a woods man Thomas Corbett who clams to have killed John Wilkes Booth. The action never stops and the story is filled with Sherlock Holmes humor up to the very end when Sherlock finally closes in on the Red Demon for the last confrontation on top of a burning bridge. For anyone looking for a good mystery do not pass up this exciting adventure of Sherlock Holmes.