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Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon (Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,211 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
American railroad magnate James J. Hill summons Sherlock Holmes to Minnesota to save the Great Northern Railroad and Hill himself from the threats of The Red Demon.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Viking Adult (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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S. J.
Mar 07, 2012 S. J. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sherlock Holmes fans, people who like history mixed well with their fiction
Recommended to S. by: Sequel to book; Library
*5 Stars* (I didn’t think it would make it based on the likely score I thought it would get)

Scorecard: (Out of 10)
* Quality of Writing - 8
* Pace - 9
* Plot development - 9
* Characters - 10
* Enjoyability - 8
* Insightfulness - 9
* Ease of Reading - 9
* Photos/Illustrations - N/A
Final Score: 62/70 = 89%

If I don’t start a series at the beginning, sometimes the previous stories don’t stand out in my memory, no matter how much I read them. This book suffers partially from this personal phenomenon thoug
Jun 29, 2010 Kayt rated it it was ok
Really a 2.5. The last fourth of this book were interesting, but unfortunately I had to slog through the other 3/4 to find it.

A quick summary: Sherlock Holmes has been asked to catch the "Red Demon," a person sending threatening notes and setting fires around the railroads of American tycoon Mr. Hill. Assuming false identities, Holmes and Watson visit Minnesota to solve the case before the arsonist strikes again.

Usually, the problem I come across in non-canonical Holmes stories is an out-of-char
Mike  Davis
Apr 27, 2015 Mike Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, crime
I found this a fine example of Sherlock Holmes pastiche writing. Dr. Watson is the narrator who stays well in character. The time frame is appropriate, and the suspense holds up well as the story develops. Holmes and Watson are called to the U.S. by a railroad magnate to investigate threats from an arsonist who threatens to destroy the railroad. The story is written as Doyle would have written it, which is what fans enjoy. Recommended to all fans of Sherlock Holmes who have been dismayed at the ...more
Tony Ross
Jul 27, 2014 Tony Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting it to be ok. But the author did an awesome job and stayed pretty close to behavior and wording of holmes and Watson. Kind of cool that it takes place in Minnisota.
Sarah Alawami
Jan 26, 2016 Sarah Alawami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good start to the series.
Mar 06, 2016 Earicka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-editions
•••I listened to the Audible Audio Edition of this book•••

Steve Hendrickson’s performance was incredibly engaging. It showed Watson's pique with Holmes in a very expressive manner as well as Holmes' brusque mein when dealing with things he found to be self evident. Their snarky and contentious relationship is what has always (in my mind) made them an excellent investigative duo. All the characters were well acted and I can't wait to listen to more offerings by this talented voice actor!

I was pretty blown away by this book. Sherlock Holmes is all well and good, but spinoffs of classics are usually decent at best. This was fabulous. Not only do we get Holmes, but a great history lesson, subtly woven in with fantastic plot and dialogue. I had never heard of The Hinckley Fire before this book. I can hardly wait to read the rest of the series.
As a wannabe critic I have to find fault, but the only thing I found mildly annoying about this book was the over use of the word "conflagrat
May 22, 2014 Tessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deep in the Minnesota pines and railroads Holmes finds yet another mystery only he could solve!

I really enjoyed this book for two main reasons:

One, the writing style is like that of the originals, and it's always nice to find an author who can truly capture the Holmes character like Doyle.
Two: this book has a grate plot, and like any well written mystery keeps you on edge as you try to solve the mystery before the end.
I don't say this often; I couldn't put this book down!

I really love how this b
Julie Garrett
Feb 09, 2016 Julie Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Sherlock Fans will enjoy"

This review is for the Audio Book of Sherlock Holmes an the Red Demon

If your a Sherlock fan this book is for you. The story is very interesting an really keeps your attention. The narrator did an excellent job with all the different voices an accents. If your a fan of Sherlock Holmes an Watson or even if your not an just enjoy a great mystery then this is the book for you. I recommend this book highly
Jul 05, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An interesting take on Sherlock Holmes. He and Dr. Watson come to Minnesota at the request of James J. Hill to solve the mystery of who is trying to burn down the railroad in Hinckley. I always love a good Holmes and Watson story and it was fun to have it take place in my home state!
Mike Jensen
Apr 07, 2015 Mike Jensen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rarely have I read a Sherlock Holmes story that felt so little like a Sherlock Holmes story. I realize this is a pastiche, but the plot could hardly be less Doyle-like. There were moments that felt authentic, but few. Add that the book feels padded, very padded, and it was not a lot of fun.
Feb 09, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in preparation for recording the audiobook. I'm very pleased with the result and hope other listeners will be too.
John Pehle
Apr 15, 2015 John Pehle rated it really liked it
This new take on the legendary detective, in the voice of Dr. Watson, was an entertaining page-turner, worthy of its title character.
Molly Panzer
pretty good, not a huge Sherlock Holmes fan but my mom was, so completed in honor of her.
Jan 28, 2017 Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett is the first book in the Minnesota Mystery series. Millett uses his own backyard as the perfect setting for the series. The upper Midwest of the United States in the mid to late 1890's was a corrupt lawless time perfectly in need of Sherlock Holmes. Millet uses historical figures of that area to add a level of believability to his narrative that needs to be there for a proper Holmes adventure. The characters have enough care and attention brough ...more
Oct 23, 2016 Alexis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author is loyal to both the main characters of the original Holmes and the Victorian era. Wonderful writing about the historical Hinckely fire in MN. Fun finding sites of familiarity in MN in the book. Action packed ending. You may guess the villain shortly before the reveal if you are paying attention to details. A very good first book in the series.
Oct 14, 2016 Mali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holmes and Watson come to Minnesota at the behest of J.J. Hill, in order to investigate threats being made against the Great Northern Railway. The book culminates in the Hinckley Fire, presenting it as an act of arson, and purporting to tell who set it.

Millett captures Watson's voice quite well. I've read reviews of Nicholas Meyer's "The Seven Percent Solution," that say the same thing; I couldn't disagree more. Meyer's book reads like what it is: a 1974 knock off; Millett does a much better jo
Nov 19, 2011 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery and Historical Fiction Readers
If one enjoys "historical" fiction and a good mystery, this series, which begins with this book, Millett's "Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon," is for you. I was unsure of a book which eventually put Holmes into an American setting; however, I was pleasantly surprised with this series and this book. Larry Millett's characters, setting and plots are believable! More importantly, his style seems to closely emulate Doyle's, which adds to the credibility of the novel. Also, the characters are devel ...more
Holly Booms Walsh
A top-notch Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The writing style is faithful to the Conan Doyle style with characteristics that are familiar for the personalities of both Holmes and Watson... with possibly a bit more generosity of feeling from Holmes toward Watson. Their interaction is funny as well as clever, with good banter. They are enticed to go to Minnesota at the behest of a railroad baron to discover who is starting fires that threaten the railroad company. Surrounded by lumberjacks, Wild West la ...more
Dec 15, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
first in a great series that has Holmes and Watson investigating threats to a railroad owner in Minnestota
Feb 15, 2016 Kai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon is a mystery set in with the real current event of the devastating Hinckley forest fire of 1894. Sherlock Holmes is hired by railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Someone known as the Red Demon is sabotaging his Great Northern Railway Company in Minnesota. There are the usual suspects that Holmes and Watson would eliminate before coming to the conclusion of who the culprit is.

The story even brings in Tom "Boston" Corbett, who is believed to have killed John Wilkes Boo
Mar 08, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, book-club
Book Club selection. This is a who done it, and I couldn't figure how who done it! Very interesting. I know from other non-fiction books about the Hinkley fire that this story line stayed very true to the facts. Loved all of the geographic descriptions of areas of Minnesota that are familiar to me. This includes living in Milaca for a time, and attending school for a time at the old Duluth Central half way up the hill (where the teacher worked), and my mom's side of the family growing up in King ...more
Mar 01, 2016 CassandraG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another, interesting Sherlock Holmes mystery. You like how the story flows and the descriptive descriptions and some of the humorous situations. Like, when Holmes goes to check out the perfume scent that was found on the letter. The voice over artist characterization of Elsa, definitely put a smile on your face. You like Dr. Watson and even though Holmes was good, he could be exasperating at times. Only thing, the introduction as interesting as it was, was a bit long and probably could have been ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me a while to really warm up to this book. Way too much background on the area, the landscape, the trees, the career of Holmes to start the book. Once I really got into the story I enjoyed it, and having it set in nearby Minnesota made it that much more interesting

Holmes is hired by a railroad exec (a real person btw) to find out who is threatening him and his railroad with fire - the kind of fire that will kill hundreds because it is the middle of summer and very hot. In 1894 Minnesota was
Dec 12, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed this book overall. I know it is not an "original" of the mysteries, but it was my 1st journey into the world of Sherlock Holmes in writing. I found it to be well written, well researched, though someone with a better knowledge of Holmes may be able to dispute that), and amusing in parts also. It was based around stuff that apparently really happened in the time frame, which i found interesting, though I had no previous knowledge of said events.
If I had to level one complaint against t
Ben Rekaburb
Dec 09, 2010 Ben Rekaburb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why would anyone read a 'Holmesian Mystery'if they not 'in the mood for a mystery'?
THAT'S a head scratcher right there. And then rate the book badly for being a mystery.

This was a good book.
Generally speaking, if I finish a book ...if it holds my knat like attention
long enough for me not to be sidetracked by the ten other books I've got going.... then it's a 'win'.

I finished this one and laughed out loud a few times at the interplay between Holmes and Watson.
It may not be 'edge of
Nicely done. Millet has given us a Watson-narrated tale of the duo's 1894 trip to Minnesota, where they solved the mystery of the pinery fire that destroyed the town of Hinckley, Minnesota -- a fire typically regarded as a natural disaster. The Minnesota angle was fun, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series, which is set in St. Paul (somewhere I know more about). From a historical fiction angle, the book was well researched, but the reader doesn't really learn all t ...more
I'll be honest; I'm not so much into mysteries. I like Sherlock Holmes as a rule, but I haven't really... gotten into the genre.

However, this book, I didn't think Millett had it in him! But the only thing I've read by him is "Lost Twin Cities." (We read the Star Tribune at our house, not the Pioneer Press.) But I was pleasantly surprised. He didn't get too hung up in the details; it was just enough to paint the picture of the boomtown that was the Twin Cities.

Will I read the other ones? Not su
May 26, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sherlock-holmes
Holmes & Watson are off to Minnesota, hired by a RR owner to find the Red Demon who is threatening to ruin the RR with fires. An good story, where we get to enjoy the interplay between Holmes and Watson, their different outlooks, their dialogue, and the hunt with all of Holmes' deductions and observations. The historical setting interesting iwth lots of detail. There was one thing that drove me nuts, though. Holmes and Watson were "undercover" with assumed identities, but they kept calling e ...more
Mary Ann
Jul 23, 2014 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a delicious book! I'm one of those Sherlock Holmes wackos who check out everything Holmes. Millett surely has the gift. His Watson, although not quite so bumblingly stupid as Nigel Bruce in the Basil Rathbone films, is nevertheless pretty dumb. (Although beloved by many, both were too mature for their parts.) Those of us who know and love the Doyle Canon must have our Watson; Holmes did not suffer fools, and Watson was not a fool.
Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk and Laurie R. King's Ru
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Larry Millett has combined his interest in journalism, architectural history, and mystery fiction to create an unusual writing career. A native of Minneapolis, he attended school there and then went on to obtain a bachelor’s degrees in English from St. John’s University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

He began working as a general assignment reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer P
More about Larry Millett...

Other Books in the Series

Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota (5 books)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders: From the American Chronicles of John H. Watson, M.D.
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