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The Magic Bullet

A Locked Room Mystery Featuring Shadwell Rafferty and Sherlock Holmes

2011
Author:

Larry Millett

The Magic Bullet

The thrilling sixth novel in local historian Larry Millett’s renowned mystery series

From locked rooms and civil unrest to murder and wartime paranoia, Larry Millett’s The Magic Bullet presents detective Shadwell Rafferty’s most challenging case. Set in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1917, its gripping conclusion—with a timely assist from Sherlock Holmes—finds both Rafferty and Millett at the top of their games.

Larry Millett’s pen remains as sharp as a bullet. The Magic Bullet is sure to introduce the classic locked-room mystery to a whole new generation of mystery lovers. And what a mystery! I found the story’s twists and turns through the streets of my old hometown both dazzling and maddening at the same time.

Steve Thayer, author of The Weatherman and Saint Mudd

St. Paul, Minnesota. October 1, 1917. High above the city, a renowned local financier named Artemis Dodge lies facedown on the floor of his armored penthouse sanctuary, a single bullet hole in his head. Thirty stories up, in the city’s tallest building, and not a shred of evidence or sign pointing to anyone having broken into the wealthy man’s fortress. It is—to all appearances—an impossible crime.

Enter Shadwell Rafferty: Irishman, St. Paul saloonkeeper, sometime detective, and old friend of the celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Summoned by Louis B. Hill—son of railroad magnate James J. Hill—to investigate, Rafferty descends into a world dominated by greedy tycoons and awash in political intrigue and wartime fearmongering. Suspects lurk in every corner of the city—including Dodge’s beautiful young widow, his slippery assistant, and a shadowy anarchist—and Rafferty pursues them from the streets of Ramsey Hill and the rooms of the Ryan Hotel to the labyrinthine caves under the Schmidt brewery. Matching wits with his foes at the police department and his unsavory rival, the St. Paul detective Mordecai Jones, Rafferty knows that in order to bring a killer to justice he must first unravel the riddle of a single bullet fired in a locked room, three hundred feet above the streets of St. Paul.

Set during a bitter streetcar strike and amid the clandestine activities of a ruthless commission charged with enforcing wartime patriotism, Larry Millett has created a classic and perfectly executed locked-room mystery in the great tradition of John Dickson Carr. From locked rooms and civil unrest to murder and wartime paranoia, The Magic Bullet presents Rafferty’s most challenging case, and its gripping conclusion—with a timely assist from Sherlock Holmes—finds both Rafferty and Millett at the top of their games.

The Magic Bullet

Larry Millett was a reporter and architecture critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for thirty years. He is the author of fifteen books, including five other mystery novels in the series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, all forthcoming in new editions from the University of Minnesota Press.

The Magic Bullet

Larry Millett’s pen remains as sharp as a bullet. The Magic Bullet is sure to introduce the classic locked-room mystery to a whole new generation of mystery lovers. And what a mystery! I found the story’s twists and turns through the streets of my old hometown both dazzling and maddening at the same time.

Steve Thayer, author of The Weatherman and Saint Mudd

Diabolically clever . . . This book works, first of all, as a classic locked-room puzzle in the John Dickson Carr tradition. It brings back the World War I look and feel of old St. Paul (Minnesotans, especially, will love this series, as will anyone interested in architecture), along with an expert overview of the tensions (a streetcar strike, civil unrest) of the time. Engaging characters and a hold-your-breath plot also make this one an all-around winner.

Booklist

Millett’s excellent sixth Sherlock Holmes pastiche featuring Shadwell Rafferty offers a tantalizing, impossible crime. . . . John Dickson Carr fans will appreciate this intelligent homage to the master of the locked-room mystery.

Publishers Weekly

Millett is a skilled architect of the Holmesian mystery.

Minnesota Monthly

Strongly recommended, especially for fans of locked room mysteries.

Mystery Scene Magazine

Each of Millett’s books is a winner.

Hutchinson Leader

A solid effort from a skilled novelist, The Magic Bullet should make fans of this series quite pleased that Rafferty is back on the job.

ForeWord

Millett writes well, and he writes of what he knows—not London but the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The District Messenger

As always Millett’s command of verisimilitude is finely honed.

Dave Wood

Millett creates an excellent melding of authentic fact and suspenseful fictional mystery.

Roseau Times-Region

If you feel at home in the foggy, gas-lit streets of Victorian London, and you think that Sherlock Holmes is a realer person than many allegedly human folk you know, then you need to get hold of Larry Millett’s ‘Minnesota Mysteries’.

New Mystery Reader

All the characters, especially Rafferty, are vivid and memorable, and the picture Mr. Millett gives us of St. Paul in 1917 is fascinating. The mysterious murder of a tycoon, alone in his fortified penthouse at the top of the city’s tallest building, is a real cracker — and aficionados will delight in the many subtle tributes to John Dickson Carr.

Sherlock Holmes Journal

The Magic Bullet

Introduction
Book I. The Magic Bullet
1. “We Were Dead Wrong”
2. “May God Have Mercy on Our Poor Souls”
3. “I Need You Now More Than Ever”
4. “Wait until the Inspector Hears about This”
5. “This Will Save Me a Lot of Trouble”
6. “I Am Thinking He Is Up to No Good”
7. “These Men Have Business with Me”
8. “This Is a Rum Case All Around”
9. “I Wish You Good Luck”
Book II. The Terrorist
10. “I’m Sure He’ll Have Much to Tell Us”
11. “This Is a Thing I Do Not Like”
12. “We’ll Talk Again Soon”
13. “Something about It Looks Familiar”
14. “Not Exactly”
15. “It Is a Matter of Life and Death”
16. “We’ll Find Her”
17. “I Have Bad News”
18. “This Is War”
19. “Everything Is Going to Hell”
Book III. The Dodge Fragment
Book IV. Secrets of the Locked Room
20. “I Fear We Are Not Done with This Business Yet”
21. “Inside Job”
22. “Do You See What It Must Be?”
23. “There Could Be Blood on Our Hands”
24. “Come Meet the Murderer of Artemus Dodge”
25. “I Do the Best I Can”
Epilogue: “The Best Saloonkeeper and Finest Detective”
Author’s Note