Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders

Larry Millett, Author Viking Books $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-87944-1
It's January 1896 when railroad magnate James J. Hill summons Holmes and Watson to St. Paul, Minn. (as he did in Millett's Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon, 1996). Wealthy Jonathan Upton and Laura Forbes are soon to be married in the rotunda of a large and elaborate ice palace, a traditional part of the city's annual Winter Carnival. But Upton is missing, and Miss Forbes seems strangely unconcerned about his whereabouts. The fathers of the pair, both prominent businessmen, are the primary financiers of the palace, and Jonathan's disappearance has become the hot news story of the day. Soon after his arrival, Holmes encounters a friendly rival, Shadwell Rafferty, whose card reads, ""bartending and discreet investigations,"" and who is working for the senior Upton. The stakes are raised when Holmes and Rafferty discover the severed head of young Upton encased in a block of ice inside the palace, and they are upped further when the senior Upton is killed and Miss Forbes's brother is attacked. Millett's Holmes is a fair replica of Conan Doyle's original, but the real triumph here is Rafferty, who lights up each scene in which he appears, adding a distinctively American bounce to a solid, complex mystery distinguished by its vibrant portrayal of 19th-century St. Paul. Holmes fans may feel free to tip their deerstalkers. Author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998
Release date: 11/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
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