Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders (American Chronicles of John H. Watson # 2) - Much better then the first one
When I first heard of Sherlock Holmes visiting St. Paul and America, I was extremely skeptical. I also didn't realize it was a series and so read this, the second book, first. Actually, though I never do this, I suggest starting with this one, as I think it's the better written and for a good deal of the story, more interesting.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, though they swore after the last case to stay away, are once again across the pond. Their time in Chicago is cut short though when their friend James J. Hill sends for them to once again investigate in St. Paul, this time in the middle of a bitterly cold winter and their Winter Carnival. The disappearance of a young man from one of the top families on the eve of his wedding is troubling the whole city and Hill wants him found. But his disappearance and the grisly discovery right at the heart of the Ice Palace sets off a dark and disturbing series of events that tasks even Holmes.
Larry Millet writes the type of Holmes pastiche I love, complete with a mystery worthy of the great detective, correct characterization, and a story entrenched in the time period. I'll give him this, he knows his stuff; the story is set during a lull in Doyle's canon, making it conceivable the trip could have been made. The story is, of course, written "by" Watson and we are treated to its provenance and how the "editor" came to acquire it. Millet can definitely play The Game. Add in his end notes giving the reader further information on the people, area, and history as well as Holmesian lore and he really could set up this book and series better for me to love it.
The mystery itself is quite a good one, complex and the solution still caught me off guard, though I've read this more then once before!(show spoiler)
I should warn you though, the mystery covers some horrible things happening to young women. I feel Millet handles it delicately but it might be difficult for some readers.
Both the real people and the created characters have great depth. My favorites are without a doubt, Hill, Joseph G. Pyle, Shadwell Rafferty, and George Washington Thomas.(show spoiler)
In almost every way I feel this book is a great leap forward from the author's first book.
The first book in the series contains fire and now here we have ice. This is a great read for Holmes' fans but I recommend a blanket and hot chocolate on hand to ward off the chill from this book.