Sherlock Holmes visited Minnesota several times—but maybe you already knew that. I confess that I didn’t, though I’ve long been a Sherlock Holmes fan, and also knew Larry Millett as the Twin Cities’ preeminent writer on architectural history.
Happily for Millett and Holmes fans, the University of Minnesota Press has just published new paperback editions of his six Sherlock Holmes novels:
Millett sticks to tradition, with Dr. John Watson narrating the stories, but adds St. Paul saloonkeeper and detective Shadwell Rafferty, who serves as an able partner to the Holmes-Watson duo. Rafferty is a character in his own right, and primary in the cast of Minnesotans, real and fictional, who appear in the books.
A heavy dose of Twin Cities history and architecture is injected in each plot, along with footnotes that serve to situate the stories in the Sherlockian canon (“the official canon of Sherlock Homes adventures, as established by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, makes no mention of Sigmund Freud…”) as well as detailing local color (Holmes’s description of the circumstances that led to the creation of the so-called bonanza farms is correct. The most complete account of these giant wheat farms is in Hiram Drache, The Day of the Bonanza [Fargo N.D.; North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1964]”).
A Minnesota Monthly feature on Millett and the series is a good introduction (and a good read). I recommend the series to fans of Holmes, fans of Millett, and history buffs who like detective novels.
Coverage of issues and events affecting Central Corridor neighborhoods is funded in part by a grant from the Central Corridor Collaborative.