Sherlock Holmes has returned to St Paul, Minnesota to attend the wedding of Petey Smith, whom
he had befriended ten years earlier. Petey is a cub reporter about to marry the daughter of one
of the city's most powerful men, Jacob V Brower. There is a fire in Brower's building; his office
is ransacked and the body of an unidentified man is found there bludgeoned to death. Who is the
man? Why was he killed? The police consider Brower a person of interest. Holmes undertakes to
solve the mystery in his usual observant and analytical way.
This is a very short novel; it could almost be considered a long short story. The mystery is
well constructed with interesting characters. Many historical characters are mentioned and are
made true to life. The history of the Twin Cities (St Paul and Minneapolis) and the towns further
west is discussed in detail. A good deal of historical fact about the beer industry and about
the exploration for the sources of the many rivers in the region is related. In fact, there is
as much, if not more, historical information as there is story. This is an uncomplicated story
with much historical detail and a swift solution to the crime, thanks to Sherlock Holmes.
Quick reading in an hour.