I have to say I was quite disappointed with this book. I have been an avid Sherlockian for several years now, and having exhausted the original Conan Doyle stories many times over, I decided about a month ago to pick up this book. I didn't expect too much, but seeing as I had heard so many wonderful things about Larry Millett, I decided to give it a try.
First of all, this is NOT a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You can approach it in any way you like, but it will never be a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It is simply a mystery with Sherlock Holmes in it. And this Sherlock Holmes is certainly not the one I know. He is constantly and repeatedly surprised by evidence and information supplied to him by one Shadwell Rafferty, and Irish-American with an annoying habit of saying "'tis" and "'twould" in every sentence possible. Let me repeat that: Sherlock Holmes is SURPRISED. He is effectly put off his guard. As many Sherlock fans will note, this is a virtual impossibility. Sherlock Holmes is always ready for everything, and, more importantly, always suspects everything. He is never surprised. I immediately began to re-evaluate this story when I had found this out and here's what I decided:
This book is a mystery, and a rather good one at that. But you should not buy it if you are looking for Sherlock Holmes. Not only is the great detective fairly scarce throughout the book but he is greviously mis-represented. It is even suggested that he is in love! The absurdity is truly odd. However, if you give Sherlock Holmes any other name -- say, Terrance Jones, or John Smith, or Timothy Hillington, or just about any other name on the face of the Earth -- the mystery becomes quite interesting, sinister and highly entertaining.
Whether Larry Millett is using Sherlock Holmes's name to sell books, or whether he truly believes this book is a good representation of the detective, only Millett himself can say. But, from what I have read, Millett is devestatingly unfamiliar with Holmes's character, methods, and incredible genious, making this book less than so-so for Sherlock fans.
Also, although after a few chapters I was used to Minnesota being mentioned so often, at the beginning of reading this book, I chuckled to myself every time Millett wrote "Minnesota," "St. Paul," "Minneapolis," or "Fargo-Moorhead" which rather deteriorated the sinister feel of the mystery.
For those of you who are just looking for a good mystery, are unfamiliar with Sherlock Holmes, or are willing to disregard the fact that the English detective protrayed in this book is supposed to be Sherlock Holmes, than this book may be the one for it. It is very well written and quite interesting and deserves at least some merit for that...