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Sherlock Holmes is bored between cases at 221B Baker Street. So when King Oskar II of Swedenwho has heard of the discovery of the Kensington Rune Stone by a farmer in Minnesotaasks to engage his services, Holmes jumps at the chance to decipher the runes and determine whether the find is real or a hoax. With Dr. John H. Watson by his side, faithfully recording every detail, Holmes makes his way to Minnesota for a third time. But, in the first of many strange and unfortunate coincidences, the farmer who found the mysterious stone is murdered, and the stone itself is stolen on the day the famous detective arrives.
With the help of one Shadwell Rafferty, now a friend and partner, Holmes must solve this baffling case to find both the stone and the murderer.
About 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 this series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, all in new editions from the University of Minnesota Press.
Table of Contents
Map of Area around Alexandria, Minnesota, 1899 x
1. “The Whole Thing Is Nothing But a Crude Hoax” 1
2. “I Guess You Haven’t Heard” 16
3. “Just Who Exactly Might the Two of You Be?” 28
4. “Rochester Knows” 41
5. “One Might As Well Have Stolen the Mona Lisa” 54
6. “Her Name Was Mary Robinson” 66
7. “Well, I Guess I Win” 79
8. “He Is Also Said to Be the Richest Swede in America” 96
9. “I Killed No One” 108
10. “Fooled You All” 121
11. “Give Me the Gun” 133
12. “There Was Something Very Wrong on That Farm” 145
13. “I Felt the Presence of a Horrible Chill” 158
14. “Murder Is Always Hard to Believe” 172
15. “I Have Formulated a Little Plan” 184
16. “You Will Have to Play Along” 196
17. “This Case Has Become a Conspiracy of Lies” 209
18. “I Do Not Have to Tell You What That May Mean” 222
19. “You Can Answer a Question for Me” 234
20. “I Don’t Like the Look of This” 245
21. “Bad Man” 257
22. “We Are Finished Here, Mr. Holmes” 272
23. “You Will Tell Us What You Have Done with the Rune Stone” 285
Epilogue: “Who Is to Say We Might Not Meet Again?” 297
Author’s Note 315
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was surprised to read the negative reviews of this book, which clearly indicate to me they were written by people unfamiliar with the canon of Sherlock Holmes literature. In contrast to their negative take, I read the book with great appreciation, both of the incarnation of the classic Holmes and Watson which I found quite familiar, as well as the special character of Shadwell Rafferty, who, though slightly over-the-top and truly larger than life, was remarkably enjoyable. In addition, I found the weaving of local Minnesota history to be quite accurate and detailed, and the student of Minnesota history will find numerous references to matters both familiar and notable in our state. Finally, a word on the writing itself. It was well done. He knows how to turn a phrase, unfold a mystery, and keep the reader's attention throughout the text. It's not going to win any literary prize, but was well worth my time to read it.
First read Arthur Conan Doyle. There are surpisingly few stories. If you like Conan Doyle's Watson and Holmes, try Larry Millett's transportation of them to Minnesota! He has the 'voice' down pat. There are a number of modern writers who have extended Watson's stories of Holmes' adventures and Millett is my favorite.
There were things that were good and bad about this story. Once again the stony plot was spellbinding and action packed. The downfalls was the non-Doyale style Holmes. He was always a gentleman. He was always capable of pretending to be a friend of women. (He was engaged once for pete's sake) To say the he had the hots for a call girl when he could've had attractive, intelligent governess is too much. But really, the story almost makes up for the Holmes in this story.
As others have noted elsewhere, this would have been an engaging story had the detective and his sidekick been named anyone other than Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Sadly, this was not the case, so the book only serves to severely disappoint a true Sherlock Holmes fan. Millett may demonstrate a good knowledge of Sherlockian lore, but he widely misses the mark in portraying the world's first consulting detective. Sherlock Holmes surprised? Never! Sherlock Holmes kissing the hand of a woman of ill-repute? Even in the original tales, Sherlock Holmes NEVER kissed a woman's hand, and it certainly would have been more appropriate with the ladies he'd encountered there. And, by the way, how could a woman who supported herself via the world's oldest profession, not only still be alive at the age of 45, but amazingly beautiful? In the 1890's? Give me a break. In conclusion, I would like to say that Larry Millett would serve Holmes and Watson better by reacquainting himself with the original tales, and better understanding the Victorian morals and principals that would have governed these two men. As for me, after reading only six chapters of this book, I was so disappointed that I ended up tossing it into the garbage.