Lindsay Faye, Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. Is there anyone who doesn’t love that matchup? Don’t think so. Several authors have tackled this theme with varying degrees of success, but this is a remarkably good effort. Sherlockians will appreciate the authentic “tone” of the story: neither Holmes nor his biographer do anything markedly out of character. And Ripperologists will appreciate the reasonably accurate depiction of the murders; however, the author engages in some slight tinkering with the facts for dramatic purposes. (There are a couple of things that you will think are errors, but turn out not to be.)
The plot and pacing are very well handled indeed and we get to meet, fictionally at least, people that we only know by name, such as Dr Llewellyn and Mary Ann Monk. No less an author than Caleb Carr says in a blurb on the dust jacket: “At long last, an author of rare talent combines a thorough, enthusiastic knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes canon with truly rigorous research into, and respect for, the Jack the Ripper killings.”
You might want to keep an eye out for this one.
Last edited by The Grave Maurice : 05-21-2009 at 07:08 PM.
In case I sound overly familiar, I'd like to recall that we have exchanged posts in the past, when I posted as Eduardo. My real name, but I thought it was a bit boring and wanted to explore the possibilities of pseudonyms. I didn't make much of it, I'm afraid, but that's another story.
About Dust and Shadow, I'd like to point out that Ms Faye lists in her acknowledgements such Ripper scholars as Stewart P Evans and Don Rumbelow. In other words, she has done her homework.
Asante Mungu leo ni Ijumaa.
Old Swahili Proverb
Nice to talk to you again. Yes, indeed, Ms Faye seems to have consulted all the major names in the field, including your good self. That she had the guidance of the best people is obvious from the quality of her work.
I'm about 3/4 through mine, it's a good book with bits of random dark humor, which I quite appreciate. Mostly factually correct, too. I like seeing Sherlock Homes confused and sweating, for some odd reason
I only wish that Faye had spent more time investigating the life of Annie Chapman, as she spent a lot of time on Mary Ann Nichols (and that was good reading!) and seems to have done less analysis on each victim from therein. I suspect she will do a lot on the fifth canonical (iup to my reading she hasn't died), but I wanted Homes to do a lot of investigating into all of them. That's the best part.
I came across “Dust and Shadow” recently. It is very good, an excellent example of a modern Sherlock Holmes story. The author clearly did her homework, both in regards to history and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
The book is definitely on my shelf read and reread! Best of both worlds (Holmes and Jack the Ripper) indeed! In fact I have many if not most of the Holmes|Ripper crossovers. Always fun to see who the author suspects and how they go about having Holmes prove it!
And the questions always linger, no real answer in sight
Just read it - as both a student of the case and a Holmes aficionado, I couldn't resist. Not bad..... but spoiled a little by one or two Americanisms creeping in, which don't go well put into the mouth of Holmes or Watson.
No Victorian in England would have referred to a "burlap" sack - they would have said "Hessian". Also the word "gotten" is used several times - there is hardly a word out there that screams "American" so loudly - certainly not a term that Dr. John H Watson would ever use. Small points, perhaps, but for me they stuck out like a very sore thumb.
Thanks to Allen for bumping this thread up. I'm another fan of Sherlock Holmes, but have not read this book, despite a liking for the numerous books published after Conan Doyle. Will definitely look for it now.
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.