An urgent, lucrative demand from railroad tycoon James J. Hill sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the pine forests of...

READ REVIEW

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RED DEMON

An urgent, lucrative demand from railroad tycoon James J. Hill sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the pine forests of Minnesota, which a letter-writer calling himself the Red Demon has threatened to set afire, destroying 85 miles of Hill's Eastern Minnesota Railway along with the surrounding landscape. Once ensconced in rustic Hinckley, Holmes and Watson visit a den of iniquity called Mother Mary's, where Watson's person undergoes vile indignities at the hands of Laura and Dora, the Jack Pine Twins; outfit themselves as lumberjacks (""You look quite woodsy,"" Watson tells Holmes) in order to confront a sinister logger in the deep woods, where they're rescued by a messiah in buckskins; and try to read the clues in the disappearance of Hill's agent and the murder of the town marshal (""MARSHAL WILLIAM THOMPSON INCINERATED IN HOME--BULLET IN HIS BRAIN--FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED,"" the Hinckley Enterprise sagely reports before the Red Demon can visit a gruesome, fact-based catastrophe on the train tracks, pine trees, and citizens of Hinckley. Minnesota journalist Millett has mastered neither the cadences nor the exclusions of Watson's narrative--the story is full of tedious details Watson would have excised--but its colorful, improbable incidents and its attention to clues make it a respectable example of mid-grade Sherlockian foolery. A sequel in St. Paul is hinted.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0816674833

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996