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Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders [Paperback]

Larry Millett
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 29 2011 Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage
The year is 1896, and St. Paul’s magnificent Winter Carnival is under way when Holmes and Watson are summoned by the city’s most powerful man, railroad magnate James J. Hill. A wealthy young man disappears on the eve of his wedding—and his fiancée suspiciously discards her wedding dress. After a grisly discovery in the carnival’s Ice Palace leads to a flurry of clues, Holmes is on the case. His pursuit of the murderer takes him through the highest echelons of St. Paul society and into cahoots with Shadwell Rafferty, a gregarious saloonkeeper and part-time private investigator. Soon Holmes, Watson, and Rafferty are embroiled in a perilous adventure that takes them from one frozen corner of the city to another and out onto the treacherous ice of the Mississippi River as they trail a cruel and ruthless killer.

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From Publishers Weekly

It's January 1896 when railroad magnate James J. Hill summons Holmes and Watson to St. Paul, Minn. (as he did in Millett's Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon, 1996). Wealthy Jonathan Upton and Laura Forbes are soon to be married in the rotunda of a large and elaborate ice palace, a traditional part of the city's annual Winter Carnival. But Upton is missing, and Miss Forbes seems strangely unconcerned about his whereabouts. The fathers of the pair, both prominent businessmen, are the primary financiers of the palace, and Jonathan's disappearance has become the hot news story of the day. Soon after his arrival, Holmes encounters a friendly rival, Shadwell Rafferty, whose card reads, "bartending and discreet investigations," and who is working for the senior Upton. The stakes are raised when Holmes and Rafferty discover the severed head of young Upton encased in a block of ice inside the palace, and they are upped further when the senior Upton is killed and Miss Forbes's brother is attacked. Millett's Holmes is a fair replica of Conan Doyle's original, but the real triumph here is Rafferty, who lights up each scene in which he appears, adding a distinctively American bounce to a solid, complex mystery distinguished by its vibrant portrayal of 19th-century St. Paul. Holmes fans may feel free to tip their deerstalkers. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Millett has once again taken Holmes and Watson out of their usual Baker Street lodgings to the remote landscape of Minnesota. In this adventure they are trying to locate Jonathon Upton, a young man who has disappeared days before his wedding. The detectives soon find the game is afoot and there is more than one missing person to locate. Murder, blackmail, and revenge in the snow-covered city of St. Paul? Millett knows the history of the area and has done a good job of capturing the personalities of Holmes and Watson. Simon Prebble is excellent as he portrays each of the characters with variations in accent and intonation. This abridgment is recommended for all public libraries, for a new Sherlockian pastiche is a treat for any "Hound"!?Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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First Sentence
In the years since I first began chronicling the adventures of my good friend Sherlock Holmes, I have often been asked which case inspired his greatest feat of detection. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than the Red Demon Stuff April 11 2003
I was again reluctant to read this sequel of the "Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon," and the author disappointed me by writing a better novel (exactly as what happened when I read Meyer's "The West End Horror" after "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution").
But let me make this statement here: "The West End Horror" is by far much better than this "Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders."
Again the same rich guy from Minnesota invited Holmes to his home town to investigate some mysterious occurrences in the Ice Palace there ... As if there are no good detectives in America. As long as we are talking nonsense here, why did not he summon Ellery Queen, who is not less intelligent than Holmes, or maybe Colombo (hohohoho).
The story this time had some mystery elements. It was, as a matter of fact, a whodunit. I figured the murderer out from half of the mystery, not because I was abnormally cleaver, but because of a fallacy the murderer inserted. The strange thing is that Millett did not allude to this fallacy, maybe he did not even know that it was there, and maybe I was lucky!
A new character is introduced in this novel, and Irish clever guy by the name Shadwell Rafferty. I'm not so enthusiastic about him, because he does not enrich the world of Sherlock Holmes, and people are more used to one superior detective in the story. After all, this is a pastiche to praise Sherlock Holmes, and no one else.
We reach to the conclusion of the story and the villain who killed every body was apprehended, and then nothing much, the story does not give me the impression I get from Doyle's writings. And I am not going to recommend the book, because I could have done well without reading it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Elementary attempt, my dear Watson. April 29 2000
At first blush, this book has it all. Not only did the author do
copious amounts of research, but the very concept of a grand winter
"palace" constructed of ice is very intriguing. There is a
bizzare killing, worthy of Holmes and Watson, and even a radically
different location in which the "Deductive Duo" can be put
to the test.
With all the book has going for it, the wonder for me
is that the book goes nowhere at all.
Sadly, for all the wonderful
research the author has made into 19th Century St. Paul, ice palace
construction, and even a year in which Holmes would be available to
take the case, the book just does not deliver.
Not only is the
"voice" off the mark, but the process of investigation is
muddled at best. As with many modern versions of Holmes and Watson,
the "voice" is obviously present-day. In addition, writing
true Holmesian deduction is harder than adding lots of action and a
few trifling theories which are meant to pass for the great
detective's abilities.
In this book, Holmes is constantly at the
mercy of events, as opposed to being able to define, predict, and even
control events. There is also little or no evidence of the classic
Holmes methodology.
Holmes stories work best when the evidence is
right there in plain sight. However, where we (through Watson), can
see the stain on the carpet, the strand of hair, the placement of
furniture, the remains of cigar ash, and so on, only Holmes can put
the puzzle together because he has observed the importance of the
In this book, all of the evidence is gathered by proxy; a
telegram, a letter, a courier, a phone call, whatever.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, and disappointing. Feb. 1 2000
If one chooses Sherlock Holmes as one's protagonist, one should at least try to adhere to the core of the character. Sadly, Mr. Millett does not. I personally do like the original stories by Conan-Doyle, however, I'm not a fanatic about it. I've read Holmes books by other authors that have carried on the tradition quite well. This was not one of them. Where is Holmes deductive logic? He spends his time wandering around this book baffled by everything that occurs. He "deduces" that a man has seen a woman by the red hair on the man's coat and the lipstick on his collar. Hell, even I could to that! Both Holmes and Watson seem equally lifeless and Rafferty is a buffoon Irishmen with his "tis" and "twas" way of speaking. Take away the Sherlock Holmes hook and this is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill genre mystery, which seem to be the norm more and more today. Sorry, Mr. Millett, but if you're going to do it, do it right. If you use the world's most famous consulting detective than at least remain true to the character.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Misses the mark, especially with Sherlock himself Jan. 10 2000
I make a habit of rereading a few of the original, Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries each year in early winter. This year someone gave me The Ice Palace Murders for Christmas, so I've had the chance to read the new book with the master still fresh in my mind.
It's unfortunate, but this totally misses the mark for me.
Without delving into the failings of the plot, which I'd characterize as befitting a middling modern genre novel, I have to say this book fails to capture any measure of the style and charm of the Conan Doyle characters.
It also completely fails to make any capital of the sometimes deliciously subversive deductive moments that often carry the originals. Here Sherlock Holmes and Watson (and the shallow introduction Rafferty) simply blunder around asking the obvious people obvious questions. Sherlock cracks safes to get crucial documents. Hoop-de-doo. Several times Holmes is at a loss to make any sense of evidence around which some of the real stories made an entire mystery work. (Recall the newsprint warnings in Hound of the Baskervilles? Here Holmes dismisses Rafferty out of hand when it's suggested that a Garamond typeface might indicate something in a similar note. Gee, has the author even read the original?)
Even when this author tries to inject a note of the charm of the Conan Doyle stories, his attempt is flat footed. For example, Holmes deducts that a character has just come from a rendevous with a woman. Why? Well, he has a long red hair on his shirt, and there's -- get ready to be stunned at the obviousness -- lipstick on his collar. Hardly the 'Your washbasin is on the east wall, I find' we've all come to expect.
I was, to be shorter, thoroughly disappointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Sherlock Tale In St. Paul, Mn, USA!!!
Among the very best non-Doyle Sherlock tales, this yarn has everything: great writing, scenes, characters, and even some business history, with John J Hill among the leading... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2004 by Hans Castorp
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Winter Carnival
If you have ever heard of Sherlock Holmes, the Winter Carnival or St. Paul, MN, this is a MUST READ !! Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2004 by "wendyjoh23"
2.0 out of 5 stars Ice Palace Murders
Mr. Millett does not capture the feel of the original Sherlock Holmes stores. Not only is it lacking in staying true to the character, the plot is virtually transparant. Read more
Published on March 13 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History along with a Good Mystery
Larry Millett combines his knowledge of the history of the Twin Cities with a mystery involving Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. So how does it come off? Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2002 by J. J. Carew
3.0 out of 5 stars Good voice, bad case
Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I found the 'voice' of Holmes and Watson to be accurate and quite true to the original characters. Read more
Published on April 13 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Great history, bad dialogue
This installment kept my interest with all of the historical details that Millet threw in. As a St Paul history lesson, the book could be no better. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2001 by Jamison Penny
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the Red Demon!
This book is the follow up to Millett's first Holmes book, Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon. I liked that book, but I like this one even better. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2001 by "tonyl7"
5.0 out of 5 stars Arthur Conan Doyle Reincarnated
As someone who has read the original Sherlock Holmes stories from early childhood, as well as countless novels and short stories by numerous other authors, I feel that Larry Millet... Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2000 by P. Bloise
4.0 out of 5 stars OK, I'm a heretic, but I loved this book
Many of the other Amazon reviewers have taken this book to task because it's not by Arthur Conan Doyle. I say, all to the good. Read more
Published on July 11 2000 by M. Ritchie
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Writer uses Holmes to introduce his own character
While I found the writing style and story engaging, I am frankly sick of writers using Sherlock Holmes to introduce their own character. Read more
Published on May 18 2000 by Amy
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