Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by John H. Watson, M.D. edited by Larry Millett

Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by John H. Watson, M.D.
Author: Larry Millett
Series: Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage
Publication: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (April 18, 2011)

Description: In the summer of 1994, a workman at the historic mansion of railroad baron James J. Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota, stumbles on a long-hidden wall safe. When experts arrive to open the safe and examine its contents, they make an astonishing discovery. There, inside, is a handwritten manuscript bearing the signature of John H. Watson, M.D.

The manuscript contains the story of how Sherlock Holmes and Watson traveled to Minnesota to track a murderous arsonist—known only as the Red Demon—who is threatening both Hill and his Great Northern Railway. Set against the backdrop of the real, devastating Hinckley forest fire of 1894, Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon is the tense and atmospheric first novel in Larry Millett’s classic series of adventures that brought Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to Minnesota.

My Thoughts: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson visit Minnesota at the request of J. J. Hill to investigate threats against his railroads and find themselves in the middle of the great Hinckley fire of 1894 as they try to track down a villain with a grudge against Hill.

I enjoyed the Minnesota history and the vivid descriptions of Hinckley and the logging camps around it. I also liked the quick visit to Duluth which was part of the case. I enjoyed the footnotes which provided additional historical detail about Minnesota in 1894.

The writing felt very much like Conan Doyle's original works about Sherlock Holmes. It was detailed and had a Victorian feel. I enjoyed following the clues along with Watson as he tried to figure out what Holmes was thinking. I found that there was quite a bit of tension as the hunt for the villain intensified along with the flames.

This is the first of a number of Sherlock Holmes adventures written by Larry Millett who has also written a number of nonfiction titles about Minnesota's past.

Favorite Quote:
I awoke the next morning to find daylight streaming into my room and the familiar figure of Sherlock Holmes hovering about like an annoying angel. He was sitting by the window, and when he turned to greet me I was stuck by the fire in his eyes, which seemed to glow like hot embers in their deep sockets. I wondered - not for the first time - what strange and terrible furnace burned within Holmes and fueled his demonic energy.
I bought this one August 8, 2017. You can buy your copy here.

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