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Learning that a presumed-dead killer is alive and keeping a hostage, Sherlock Holmes sets out across multiple continents accompanied by Irish saloon keeper Shadwell Rafferty, but finds the case further complicated by someone who is impersonating him. 20,000 first printing.
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Although Sherlock Holmes, in Arthur Conan Doyle's original tales, only occasionally traveled much beyond London, he and his faithful chronicler, Dr. John Watson, have become regular globetrotters in Larry Millett's recent Holmes pastiches. The first four of these novels found the pair hieing off to Minnesota (not coincidentally, the author's home state), while The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes sends them to New York and Chicago in 1900, one frustrating step behind conspirators bent on framing them for kidnapping and murder.
Two years have passed since Holmes (in Doyle's "The Adventure of the Dancing Men") captured Abe Slaney, a Chicago gangster who murdered the husband of Elsie Cubitt, his childhood love. Now, Elsie has gone missing, and clues suggest that Slaney--though reportedly dead--is behind the snatch. Goaded by a bogus ransom demand and an enigmatic spiritualist, and perhaps also by the great detective's uncharacteristic affection for the Widow Cubitt, Holmes and Watson commence a lively chase that will lead them from a slain Liverpool strumpet to a foggy standoff at a Manhattan church, a death-defying train ride across Pennsylvania, and a climactic shootout at a Windy City fraternal hall. Millett's veteran readers will identify the malign genius behind this conspiracy well before the last page, and they may be disappointed with the minor role played here by Minneapolis saloonkeeper and series regular Shadwell Rafferty. Yet the author adroitly captures the spirit of the Holmes canon, while adding to it a modern urgency of plot and an infectious curiosity about the historical sites around which this tale's action occurs. If this novel doesn't surpass Millett's Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders for eccentric intrigue, it certainly bristles with shocks and twists enough to curl Queen Victoria's hair. --J. Kingston PierceAbout the Author:
Larry Millett is a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
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