Cover image for Sherlock Holmes and the rune stone mystery : from the American chronicles of John H. Watson, M.D.
Sherlock Holmes and the rune stone mystery : from the American chronicles of John H. Watson, M.D.
Millett, Larry, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 317 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The numerous mystery fans and discerning Sherlockian experts who have been following "Watson's American chronicles" will be thrilled by the third manuscript to be "discovered": Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery. As the century winds down, Holmes's services are engaged by a personage no less than King Oskar II of Sweden, who proposes to purchase a mysterious stone dug up by a western Minnesota farmer. But before the celebrated detective can attempt to authenticate this fabulous find, the hapless farmer is murdered and his stone vanishes.In this singular case Holmes's soaring imagination is complemented by the talent for "discreet investigations" first displayed by Irish saloonkeeper Shadwell Rafferty in Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders. Rotund and rollicking, sharp as a St. Paul wind and tough as his own old leather boots, Rafferty accompanies the great detective through a maze of intrigue and villainy on a hunt for a rune stone, a murderer, and the archeological truth.

Author Notes

Larry Millett is a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

For the third time (after, most recently, Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders), Holmes and Watson make their way to Minnesota and team up with savvy St. Paul saloonkeeper and sometime detective Shadwell Rafferty. The year is 1899, and reports of the discovery of an ancient stone telling of Viking explorers coming to what is now Minnesota has caused an international stir. Sweden's King Oskar II wants the stone back in his country if it is genuine. As fate would have it, on the very day Holmes and Watson arrive, the farmer who uncovered the stone is murdered, "his skull split down the middle like a ripe watermelon," and the stone taken. The friendly rivalry between Rafferty and Holmes has evolved into almost a partnership. Millett handles Holmes and Watson well and is definitely in his comfort zone with Rafferty, a thoroughly engaging character. It doesn't matter if Holmes ever really came to Minnesota or if the Rune stone was genuine or fake. The way Millett tells the tale, readers will be happy to take his word for it. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuthing pair continues to inspire other mystery writers, as witnessed by these three titles. In Millett's novel, Sherlock Holmes, languishing between cases in London, seizes the opportunity to authenticateÄfor the Swedish kingÄa rune stone found in Minnesota. He and Watson (the narrator, of course) encounter a wide variety of locals, from a wealthy empire builder and a lusty saloon-keeper to a beautiful ex-brothel owner. Before they can examine the stone, however, someone steals it and kills its owner. Secretive, surprising, inventive, and ill-acquainted with modesty, Sherlock and his latest American adventure (e.g., Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders) merit wide readership. Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's older brother) and confidential secretary Peter Guthrie take the place of Holmes and Watson in Fawcett's series (Against the Brotherhood) "authorized" by Dame Jean Conan Doyle. Oddly enough, this pair's mission also involves the Swedish king, whom they must smuggle out of the country aboard a fast train to Scotland. Assassination attempts, murder, conspiracy, and secrecy all lend to the intrigue and tension. Literate prose and an overabundance of detail may dry this out for some, but purchase for fans. More Holmes for the Holidays, a follow-up to the 1996 Holmes for the Holidays, features 11 new tributes to Conan Doyle. Authors include not only well-known mystery writers such as Anne Perry, Jon Breen, and Peter Lovesey but also "cross-over" Western and sf writers, such as Bill Crider, Loren Estleman, and Tanith Lee. In Perry's story, which leads off, Holmes and Watson determine how a priceless Stradivarius was stolen from a locked room during a ten-minute time frame. In Lee's story, the pair confront an apparent puzzle dealing with a beautiful woman and a family curse. All in all, a likely purchase for most short story collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Once again, Millett accurately re-creates the famous detective and his associate, Dr. John H. Watson, who narrates this fine mystery that's full of suspense, adventure, and colorful characters. Based on a true incident involving a stone with runic writing that was found in Minnesota in 1898, this story utilizes the same time and place. The story begins in London as King Oskar II of Sweden persuades Sherlock Holmes to investigate the authenticity of a Viking stone carving found on a western Minnesota farm. Holmes and Watson arrive in the states just as the farmer who made the discovery is killed and the stone is stolen. Many strange coincidences and a surprising villain complicate the case. The writing and plot are very much like Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, and fans will enjoy seeing the sleuths working together.-Linda A. Vretos, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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