Strongwood: A Crime Dossier

Larry Millett, Author
Larry Millett. Univ. of Minnesota, $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-8166-9093-0
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-1-4529-4126-4
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Millett’s absorbing seventh Minnesota mystery (after 2011’s The Magic Bullet), a documentary-style account of a sensational 1903 murder case, pits 22-year-old Adelaide “Addie” Strongwood, a beautiful but tough working girl, against the powerful family of her ex-lover, Michael Masterson. This multifaceted entry takes the reader through various conflicting accounts of what occurred when Addie, either in self-defense or cold blood, shot Masterson, as their relationship fell apart in a morass of social and class conflicts. Addie’s clever attorney, J. Winston Phelps, comes to doubt much of what she has told him, but must argue her case against a relentless, often sarcastic prosecutor, Frederick Boardman, in gripping courtroom scenes. Addie convincingly claims justifiable homicide, both on the witness stand and in serialized newspaper accounts, while facing Boardman’s allegations of arson and blackmail. Phelps’s part-time investigator, colorful saloonkeeper Shad Rafferty, enlists the aid of series regular Sherlock Holmes, who’s visiting the twin cities with an ailing Dr. Watson. Holmes’s ingenious detective work is crucial to a shocking and disturbing resolution of the case. (Mar.)
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