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Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance Paperback – Mar 6 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; Reprint edition (March 6 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780816677054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816677054
  • ASIN: 0816677050
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #970,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
WED., SEPT. 27, 1899, WALDORF-ASTORIA HOTEL, N.Y., 10:30 P.M.: Arrived here at 4:30 P.M. after smooth passage from Southampton aboard Campania. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This can not be a true review as I have not yet been able to finish the book. I loved the 1st 3 books of this series and highly recommend them. In those books, Mr. Millett captured the "real" voice of Dr. Watson (as created by Doyle.) This book is all over the place with different points of view -- a street person who catches rats, Shadwell Rafferty, an axiliary character, the author and when we hear about Holmes it's in the awful form of journal entries with initials and ampersands that slow the reading. I intent to try again to finish the book, but think I'll find the next one at the library rather than buying it as I did the first 4, just in case Millett has truly abandoned Holmes in favor of Raffety and is tired of writing in that beloved voice that he was clever enough to re-create when he chose to.
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Format: Hardcover
The true secret alliance is between the publisher and the author, as they attempt to con and bamboozle the innocent public into thinking that this is a "Sherlock Holmes" story. It is not. Not even close. Oh, sure, we're given some badly written "diary entries" by Watson, but those are filled with Holmes and Watson pining for Minnesota. Funny how Conan Doyle missed Holmes' deep love for the Midwest.
The bulk of the novel is taken up with Millet's own creation, Shadwell Rafferty. Tragically, if this were a "Shadwell Rafferty" book, it wouldn't be all that bad. Rafferty is an interesting enough fellow, and the narrative voice used for him is light, but gets the job done. But, then, "Shadwell Rafferty and the Secret Alliance" wouldn't sell books, would it?
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By A Customer on May 13 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed "The Red Demon;" I enjoyed "The Ice Palace Murders" much less. I didn't enjoy "The Secret Alliance." I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, not Shadwell Rafferty, and Millett seems to have become infatuated with his own character to the detriment of involving Holmes. If one is going to write Sherlock Holmes stories, then he needs to write Holmes stories, not give him a secondary role to one's own creation. Millett also seems to be increasingly enamoured with his own knowledge of Twin Cities history, and this sometimes gets in the way. We want Holmes, Mr. Millett, not Rafferty, and if you are going to give a leading role to your own creation, then don't try to allure a readership with mostly false claims about a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike the first three books of the series, Holmes and Watson are secondary characters here with Shadwell Rafferty taking center stage, which means this book will be a disappointment to all but those readers who've developed as much of an attachment to Rafferty as to Holmes.
In fact, you'll need to go through more than 1/3 of the book before the Baker Street duo actually arrives in Minnesota, and even then, you'll never be reading the Watsonian-style chronicle you're accustomed to. Instead, Watson's contribution is presented in the form of hastily written journal entries, which are full of abbreviations parenthetically explained by Millett in his role as "editor." The other parts of the story are filled in with standard prose---more or less from Rafferty's point of view---but not written in his voice.
This creates a somewhat disjointed narrative, and worse, an irritating rhythm, the brief, fast-paced journal material always being followed by the longer, plodding prose.
It seems rather obvious that Millett used this book to shift his focus from Holmes/Watson to Rafferty and his partner, G. W. Thomas (Thomas is shown in a way that unmistakably parallels Watson), and I wouldn't be the least surprised if Millett evolves the series into one of Rafferty's own.
I'd be sorry to see a decently written Holmes series end, but I do like Rafferty, and think Millett deserves some praise for his creation and development of the character. I've also grown to admire Millett's ability to weave fictional characters and elements of mystery into his state's history (If you've been reading this series, but skipping his historical notes, you've actually missed a bit).
Ultimately, I rate the book only three stars because it doesn't have enough Sherlock to appeal strongly to a Sherlockian, and because if it is indeed a transitional volume between a Holmes series and a Rafferty series, it feels like an awkward transition.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
How Sherlock Holmes' name can be used in the title with good faith is outside my understanding. I've read all of Millett's "Holmes" books, and this story is not only the most tedious, the most uninspiring and the least exciting, it is also the most non-Holmes mystery. We really only experience his presence toward the end of the novel, and then it is still only a shell of the Holmes we've seen from Millett in the past.
Shadwell Rafferty is a respectable character, but he is no Holmes. Please, next time just give us a real title like "Shadwell Rafferty and the Englishmen." At least that would be fair warning.
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Format: Hardcover
Disappointing. Sherlock Holmes basically disappears from the book - except for the stupid diary form that is practically unreadable - and Shadwell Rafferty does not take the stage. The narration might as well be from a newspaper - no humor, no real way to identify with the characters. He has no alternate narrator to take the place of Watson, and that reduces his usually wonderful book plots to dust.
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