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.