Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye
At first it seemed the Ripper affair had scarred my friend Sherlock Holmes as badly as it had the city of London itself. I would encounter him at the end of his nightlong vigils, lying upon the sofa with his violin at his feet and his hypodermic syringe fallen from long, listless fingers, neither anodyne having banished the specter of the man we had pursued for over two months. I fought as best I could for his health, but as a fellow sufferer I could do but little to dispel his horror at what had occurred, his petrifying fear that somehow, in some inhuman feat of genius, he could have done more than he did.
At length, though never for publication, I determined that in the interests of my own peace of mind, I should write the matter down. I think only in my struggle to record the Reichenbach Falls business have I borne so heavy a weight as I laid pen against paper. They were evil days for me, and Holmes more than once, up and about as the cases flooded in with more force than he could practically avoid, leaned against my desk and remarked, 'Come see about the Tarlington matter with me. You needn't write this, my dear fellow. The world has already forgotten him, you know. One day we shall too.'
However, as was very seldom the case, Sherlock Holmes was mistaken. The world did not forget him. It has not forgotten him to this very day, and it is a brave lad indeed who does not experience a chilling of the blood when an elder sibling invokes the frightful phantom of Jack the Ripper.
Our mystery group has a 'Sherlock Holmes' theme for April and so I decided to listen to Dust and Shadow for the second time as my initial selection. It is narrated by Simon Vance and his voice is a welcome one for me. It's also the debut book for the author, Lyndsay Faye. She's written several books since that time (and been nominated for more than one Edgar award), but this first book is her tribute to Sherlock and Dr. Watson. And she's included that scary serial killer, Jack the Ripper.
The premise is that Holmes and Watson were actually involved in the hunt for Jack, as were other familiar characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales. I was pleased to see that the 'usual' suspects for the Ripper identity got at least a hat tip - was it a doctor or a butcher or even a prince? Faye goes her own way in that regard and includes Sherlockian trivia and locations. Though it isn't perfect, it's a worthy tribute, in my opinion. I enjoyed it very much. And I'm off to begin my next book using this theme.
From the gritty streets of nineteenth century London, the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson offers a tale unearthed after generations of lore: the harrowing story of Sherlock Holmes’s attempt to hunt down Jack the Ripper.
As England’s greatest specialist in criminal detection, Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer responsible for terrifying London’s East End. He hires an “unfortunate” known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper’s earliest victims; and he relies heavily on the steadfast and devoted Dr. John H. Watson. When Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel during an attempt to catch the savage monster, the popular press launches an investigation of its own, questioning the great detective’s role in the very crimes he is so fervently struggling to prevent. Stripped of his credibility, Holmes is left with no choice but to break every rule in the desperate race to find the madman known as “the Knife” before it is too late.
Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. Of course I'll have to add this to my wishlist. ;)ReplyDelete
You should. It's quite good.Delete
This book sounds very atmospheric and right up my alley. I like your idea of listening to it. I may have to try that.ReplyDelete
It was good on audio.Delete
I have a weakness for Sherlockian novels! This is going to be a must read!ReplyDelete
Oh, then you're going to like some of my upcoming reviews, Jenclair. ;-)Delete
I've read one of Faye's books and didn't love it so haven't picked up any of her others. It sounds like I should give this one a try.ReplyDelete
This was her debut book. Our mystery group read another of her books, set in NY. I don't remember liking it quite as well.Delete
I definitely need to give this author a go. I think I'd really like her books.ReplyDelete
I think you'd like this one.Delete
Is this a standalone? I initially thought this was part of her series, which I have yet to start even though I have physical copies of the first two novels.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is a standalone. Her debut book. She apparently really liked Sherlock as a kid and so this was her initial book. I bet you have part of that series set in NY in the 19th century.Delete
I like the sound of this one.ReplyDelete
I liked it. But then, I like Jack the Ripper books. LOLDelete
I love mysteries set in this time period! Especially when they include Jack the Ripper. :) I'm definitely going to be reading this one asap.ReplyDelete
Hope you enjoy it, Lark, if you're able to try it.Delete
I love the idea of a Sherlock Holmes April. Huge fun!ReplyDelete
We do themes for some meetings. We've had to because, sadly, the library purchases fewer copies of individual books these days. I have to make sure there will be enough for the group - it's pretty large.Delete
Gosh, I'd forgotten all about this one! Thanks for the reminder!ReplyDelete
I enjoyed this one. It was grittier than I usually go for, but very well researched and appropriately creepyReplyDelete
It definitely was that - creepy, I mean. I enjoyed the melding of the two stories.Delete
I love the premise here! Of course Sherlock Holmes would be involved in the Jack the Ripper hunt if possible. I do love Simon Vance's narration and that definitely makes me think I need to go the audio route here.ReplyDelete
You should try it!Delete
I love that there are so many different takes on the Ripper story. I'm pretty sure I have this book somewhere in the stacks!ReplyDelete
I wouldn't be surprised. It's not a new one at all.Delete
I have enjoyed watching Sherlock with my husband, but haven't read any books other than The Hound of the Baskervilles and a Laurie King mystery (the title escapes me at the moment). This sounds like one that both Rod and I would enjoy!ReplyDelete
I like books about Jack the Ripper, so it suited me just fine.Delete