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.
A masterly re-creation of history’s most diabolical villain, Lyndsay Faye’s debut brings unparalleled authenticity to the atmosphere of Whitechapel and London in the fledgling days of tabloid journalism and recalls the ideals evinced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved and world-renowned characters. Jack the Ripper’s identity, still hotly debated around the world more than a century after his crimes were committed, remains a mystery ripe for speculation. Dust and Shadow explores the terrifying prospect of tracking a serial killer without the advantage of modern forensics, and the result is a lightning-paced novel brimming with historical detail that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An amazing book and so much fun to read. Holmes & Watson speak and interact as though written by Conan Doyle and the Ripper story is well told. I felt myself back in 1888 London and enjoyed every minute.
Conan Doyle's Voice
If I didn't know better I would swear I had just read the latest from Sir Arthur himsef!
Could have been better
As a huge fan of Sherlock with a long term fascination with the Ripper, I often wondered what would happen if the two crossed paths. The read was enjoyable and faithful to the Holmes canon, but ultimately I was a little let down by the "solution" of the Ripper mystery. It's a huge challenge for any author, and while I respect that, I would have liked more exploration of the psychological element. The final showdown was abrupt and unsatisfying. The repeated injuries to the primary characters seemed limiting to the flow of the story. Not a bad effort by any means, but it could have been better.