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The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes [Mass Market Paperback]

Larry Millett
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sense of Place Oct. 9 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel is the fifth one by Larry Millett, a retired Minneapolis journalist. All of Millett's novels are Sherlock Holmes pastiches. In other words, Millett purports to continue the Holmes saga, keeping the style and characters of the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. The DISAPPEARANCE takes place in the year 1900. Parts of this novel take place in London, New York, and Chicago. (All Millett's Sherlock Holmes stories take place in the United States, presumably on "visits" by Holmes and Watson.)
All of Millett's Holmes stories have a very strong sense of place. Millett is something of an amateur historian and fills his chapters with elaborate descriptions of the streets, buildings, parks, and surroundings the characters encounter.
Footnotes appear often, usually explaining details of architecture or other historical details. For a certain sort of leisurely reader, the footnotes are fine, but for others they can become a distraction. For instance, if Holmes meets Watson at an old church in Chicago, a footnote appears that tells us the year the church was built, the kind of glass used in the windows, and the year the church was finally torn down. There's a lot of this. Halfway through the novel, I just disregarded the footnotes entirely, and from there on, I think my "read" went better.
Millett is a very good prose stylist. He crafts excellent sentences and paragraphs. His descriptions are razor sharp, and his characters come to life rather well. Of all Mr. Millett's Sherlock Holmes books, DISAPPEARANCE best brings Sherlock Holmes forward as a real, living human being. And besides Holmes, some of the other characters are also well drawn and three-dimensional.
There is plenty of action in DISAPPEARANCE, and even some tawdry sex.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed Holmes Jan. 28 2003
Format:Hardcover
When Sherlock Holmes's beautiful love interest vanishes, Holmes and Watson are quick to investigate. What they find, however, is that they have been targeted by a ruthless plot to make them appear to be the kidnappers--and murderers. In a chase that takes them from London to New York and on to Chicago, Holmes and Watson battle to find the edge that will let them pull ahead of the plotters and rescue Elsie Cubitt before she suffers the 'fate worse than death.'
Author Larry Millett has done his historical research and documents it in richly strewn footnotes. His accounts of city geography, turn of the (19/20th) century urban politics, and train travel all ring true. While the historical details ring true, the adventure itself has a bit of a hollow feel. It is difficult to imagine any criminal organization going to the troubles that Holmes's enemies go here. Surely it would have been easier to kill Holmes and Cubitt, if that was the goal, and then ruin their reputation later. Instead, they spend incredible amounts of money and energy for a pointless revenge.
Fans of the Holmes oeuvre may not recognize the Sherlock presented by Millett. Instead of cerebral, this Holmes is physical and impulsive. Watson, in contrast, was presented sympathetically with, I think, a properly balanced sense of loyalty and dogged determination. Doyle's Watson was never stupid--just an everyman like all of us who could not hope to do more than bask in Holmes's brilliance. So too, Millett's Watson is a man of action and integrity with solid if unexceptional intelligence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars solid homage to Doyle and Holmes Jan. 18 2003
Format:Hardcover
In 1900 London the great Sherlock Holmes receives a message written in code that leads the detective to deduce that murdering mobster Abe Slaney survived his harrowing escape from prison rather than drowned as reported. Having barely stopped Abe before, Holmes knows the rematch will prove even more difficult and he also thinks someone else is playing him and his sidekick Watson like puppets on a strings.
Elsie Cubitt has vanished after withdrawing 5,000 pounds from her bank and Slaney is the most likely culprit. Holmes starts his quest by visiting a spiritualist, a confidant of Elsie. However, soon after Holmes leaves, the spiritualist vanishes too. The trail turns murky when a Holmes impersonator seems to be just in front of the London duo, leaving behind fallacious clues to throw Sherlock off and crime victims wanting retribution. The dynamic duo journeys to New York City where Homes also vanishes, leaving Watson and bartender buddy Shadwell Rafferty in Chicago in search of the great sleuth and Elsie.
Though a solid homage to Doyle and Holmes, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES never quite grips the audience as one would expect with Holmes missing and apparently a prisoner of a devious enemy. Instead, the reader sees an insightful look at the late Victorian era on both sides of the Atlantic and the ho hum of another case as related by Watson. Though the candid insight by Elsie, Holmes, and others adds depth, this tribute is more for the Baker Street crowd revering along with Larry Millet one of the notables.
Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars An action packed adventure! Nov. 11 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I found this book to be a non stop action adventure outing that served the Great Detective just fine, thank you. Rather than stodgy and dull retelling of the 'locked room' mysteries that populate the shelves nowdays, Millett's latest effort moves effortlessly through a maze of troubles for Holmes and Watson, beginning in England and ending in America. True, there is not a lot of detecting in this one but I liked the reverse angle of the plot - namely, Holmes is the pursued 'criminial' through most of this. There are some controversial elements some won't like (Holmes having a girlfriend, for example) but Elsie Cubitt is a resourceful and brave woman on her own, qualities I think would win Holmes over. (And for the purists, Sherlock Holmes is as uncomfortable as one would expect him to be with a woman he truly cares for.) Shadwell Rafferty is back again, but this time he does not take over the book, thank goodness. As always, the characters of Holmes and Watson are handled well and faithfully by Millett. In short, I enjoyed that touch of 'Indiana Jones'(Holmes wears it well) in this book and I highly recommend it.
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