St. Paul, Minnesota. October 1, 1917. High above the city, a renowned local financier named Artemis Dodge lies facedown on the floor of his armored penthouse sanctuary, a single bullet hole in his head. Thirty stories up, in the city’s tallest building, and not a shred of evidence or sign pointing to anyone having broken into the wealthy man’s fortress. It is—to all appearances—an impossible crime.
Enter Shadwell Rafferty: Irishman, St. Paul saloonkeeper, sometime detective, and old friend of the celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Summoned by Louis B. Hill—son of railroad magnate James J. Hill—to investigate, Rafferty descends into a world dominated by greedy tycoons and awash in political intrigue and wartime fearmongering. Suspects lurk in every corner of the city—including Dodge’s beautiful young widow, his slippery assistant, and a shadowy anarchist—and Rafferty pursues them from the streets of Ramsey Hill and the rooms of the Ryan Hotel to the labyrinthine caves under the Schmidt brewery. Matching wits with his foes at the police department and his unsavory rival, the St. Paul detective Mordecai Jones, Rafferty knows that in order to bring a killer to justice he must first unravel the riddle of a single bullet fired in a locked room, three hundred feet above the streets of St. Paul.
Set during a bitter streetcar strike and amid the clandestine activities of a ruthless commission charged with enforcing wartime patriotism, Larry Millett has created a classic and perfectly executed locked-room mystery in the great tradition of John Dickson Carr. From locked rooms and civil unrest to murder and wartime paranoia, The Magic Bullet presents Rafferty’s most challenging case, and its gripping conclusion—with a timely assist from Sherlock Holmes—finds both Rafferty and Millett at the top of their games.