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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson [Deckle Edge] » User review

An enjoyable read!

  • May 30, 2009
  • by
I have fairly little interest in the Ripper murders. I don't quite get the people who want to sit there and pour over every aspect of the case, hoping that they can figure out, at long last!, who the killer was.

But though I have little interest in the actual case, I have enjoyed fiction based around it. "Anno Dracula", by Kim Newman, is a fine example of this, mixing the story of Dracula with that of the Ripper. Now add to it this latest novel, "Dust and Shadow", wherein a certain consulting detective investigates the case...

Now light though my interest is in the Ripper case, it's mountainously high compared to my interest in Sherlock Holmes. I've never read a single one of Doyle's stories, though I did once read a novel where Holmes went after the Phantom of the Opera, so I cannot compare those to this; I can simply review it on its own merits.

Those merits are, thankfully, quite good. In a style vaguely reminiscent of Caleb Carr's "The Alienist", author Lyndsay Fraye paints a fine picture of London, circa 1888, and populates it with a good cast of characters, both real and fictional, bringing them together in a fascinating story.

While a little plodding in parts, I did find this book enjoyable overall. I got a nice chuckle in a couple parts (especially one where we see how the rumors about Albert Victor might've started), and towards the end I had a great deal of problem with putting the book down to deal with my actual job (I have a tendency to read at work).

I did find the character of Holmes to be a little annoying, but as I've not read any of Doyle's stories, I can't say if that's within the normal parameters of the character. Also I found the author's choice of the eventual killer to be a little disappointing, but not much.

Overall a good book I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the Ripper case and at least tentatively recommend to folks who like Holmes.

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More Dust and Shadow: An Account of... reviews
review by . May 02, 2009
Faye's debut novel puts Sherlock Holmes on the endlessly-debated and still unsolved Ripper case, and the marriage is a good one. Faye has captured Arther Conan Doyle's creation of Dr. Watson's writing style and Watson's faint sense of frustration with and deep strain of admiration for Holmes so the effort reads like a new Sherlock Holmes adventure and not a hacked-up update.    Holmes' rational deductive powers are stretched to the limits when faced with the real-life psychopathic …
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
Good sant on a mystery
review by . June 01, 2010
As a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was not sure how the author would come across in style and prose. Lyndsay Faye has done an outstanding job with the story, and if I didn't know better, I might think Doyle wrote this himself. She does such a great job that I knew right away she was a fan of Sherlock herself. It shows in the writing. You are transported back in time through the writing, and that is important for any Holmes story in my opinion. The book is an interesting and well thought out version …
review by . June 04, 2009
New novelist Lyndsay Faye has done what few have managed before. She has resurrected Sherlock Holmes and company. Faye succeeds admirably in creating the ambience of the original novels, and by pitting Holmes against Jack the Ripper, presents him with a challenge worthy of his talents. The world's greatest detective emerges true to form, with arrogance and foibles intact. Dr. Watson, dear as ever, remains at his side, but in this tale, he takes a more active role than was his wont. The usual lovely …
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C R Swanson ()
Ranked #59
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this book


Following in the footsteps of such crime writers as Ellery Queen and Michael Dibdin, Faye pits Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper in her impressive if flawed debut. In the autumn of 1888, the savage slaughter of two prostitutes in London's East End piques Holmes's curiosity. Inspector Lestrade, no fool in Faye's rendering, calls on the unconventional sleuth for help. As the killer continues to claim more victims, the Baker Street duo spare no effort to bring the Ripper to justice. Meanwhile, a disreputable journalist accuses Holmes of being the Ripper. The author uses a convincing Watsonian voice to present versions of Holmes and his chronicler faithful to the originals. While the paucity of suspects makes guessing the killer's identity too easy and the motive for the crimes is less than convincing, Sherlockians will hope to see further pastiches of this quality from Faye.(Apr.)
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ISBN-10: 1416583300
ISBN-13: 978-1416583301
Author: Dust and Shadow
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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