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SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET ALLIANCE: Featuring Shadwell Rafferty

Larry Millett, Author
Larry Millett, Author . Viking $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-03015-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-14-200155-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8166-7705-4
Open Ebook - 334 pages - 978-0-8166-8027-6
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In Millet's fourth, well-researched Holmes in Minnesota adventure (after 1999's Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery), flamboyant Irish saloonkeeper Shadwell Rafferty scents an impending bloodbath when Michael O'Donnell, a young union man and mill worker, is found hanged, naked, from an oak tree in downtown Minneapolis. Around the victim's neck is a placard: "The Secret Alliance Has Spoken." Everyone assumes it is a warning from the paramilitary anti-union Secret Alliance, but no one seems to understand its significance. Rafferty seeks help from Holmes, who's in New York on a case for John Jacob Astor. The world's greatest private consulting detective doesn't enter the action until the novel's half over, though entries from Dr. Watson's journal at the start of each chapter keep the reader informed of his thoughts and movements. Turn-of-the-century Minneapolis on the eve of a visit from President McKinley comes vividly to life as one of the most corrupt cities in America, rife with evil schemes and dirty deeds. Rafferty is no deductive wizard like Holmes, but a street-smart, methodical man who plods from witness to witness to discover the truth behind O'Donnell's lynching, which, in the end, proves amazingly complex. A columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the author is obviously in love with local history. Both Holmes fans and historical mystery buffs should be pleased. Agent, Bob Barnett.(Oct. 15)

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