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Castle Rouge: A Novel of Suspense featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Jack the Ripper

1 rating: -3.0
A book by Carole Nelson Douglas

Blend Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes with Dracula lore, toss in a copious complement of czarist Russian history, and the result is Carole Nelson Douglas'sCastle Rouge, her grisly but gripping sequel to 2001'sChapel Noir. Disaster has struck opera … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Forge Books
1 review about Castle Rouge: A Novel of Suspense featuring...

Guilty pleasure with too much the first, not enough the second

  • Mar 5, 2011
The cover quotes and author bio, as well as the "Reader's Guide" at the end as if this were Classic literature, give too much weight to this mystery-romance claptrap.  I picked this up at a used-book sale based on the plot recap involving Sherlock Holmes, along with his erstwhile female protagonist Irene Adler, in the search for Jack the Ripper. 

It was my first exposure to Douglas, but I thought:  can't go wrong pitting the fictional detective against the too-real serial killer who shared the same London of the late 19th century, can you?  Well, Douglas apparently thinks you can, because she ladles on helpings of Bram Stoker (a struggling theater manager before writing his Draculan opus) and Nellie Bly (the emancipated female journalist), and concocting a plot involving additional Ripper murders in Paris and Prague, bizarre cultic rituals, and (wait for it) . . . . mysterious doings in a Transylvanian castle!  As a bonus, her candidate for the true Jack the Ripper turns out to be another historical figure I've never before heard connected to the Ripper account--perhaps because the connection is so far-fetched!

And all of this is in a coy, stilted writing style that reads like romance fiction.  OK, so I've never read Harlequin novels, but some of the dialogue and writing here is groan-out-loud funny and not in a good way.  Surely there is a similarity here?

If I were not reading this in Beijing with limited access to other English-language reading material, I would have probably stopped.  Unfortunately, in my small stash of things to read I also brought a followup to this novel that includes not only Stoker and Bly, but throws in Oscar Wilde for good measure!

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March 05, 2011
Wow...that sounds like a mess- she should've just picked one aspect or maybe even two and stuck with that. Thanks for the heads up!
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