Reason for Reading: I always enjoy a good book featuring Holmes but this time I must say it was my pet true crime case Jack the Ripper that pulled me towards this book even more.
Comments: The plot is what you would expect. The real-life Jack the Ripper case has been put into the the fictional London of Sherlock Holmes and in this world Holmes becomes involved in trying to solve the case. The book itself has been approved by the Holmes estate and is very true to Holmesian Canon, including characters and history from previous stories with footnotes to show from whence the references came. The Jack the Ripper information has also been thoroughly researched but is much more vague and not nearly as in-depth. This is much a story of Holmes, first and foremost before it is a story of Jack the Ripper.
I've read all of Doyle's Holmes works, though I must say it was a long time ago, but I still felt the genuine tone of the original books come through in Fayes' writing. While one knows the plot, per say, of the Ripper murders she has added some shady characters and goings on that Sherlock must also unravel along his way to solving the bigger case. Also, while Faye stays true to the main facts of the Ripper case she does deviate away from the facts into fiction to make the story her own (or should I say Holmes' own). Jack the Ripper purist will not find a plausible solution to the case but then they shouldn't be expecting one with a fictional detective on the case.
An enjoyable book but one I must say that never really grabbed me tightly. It was a pleasant read that didn't ever get me excited as to whodunit. Holmes and Watson were portrayed well, and fans will be sure to be pleased, but I just didn't connect with any of the other characters nor did the plot ever get me turning pages faster than normal. Overall, a pleasant, enjoyable mystery but nothing extraordinary.
First time novelist Faye does commendable job in atmosphere, characters, and dialogue as she pits Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. In fact, she channels Conan Doyle's style eerily well. But there are two missing ingredients: plot and pace. Though this match-up has been done a few times before in fiction, it should still produce chills given the true gruesome murders and the deducing detective.
Unfortunately, there are not enough twists and turns to really hold interest. I did enjoy one misdirection in the book but it did not derail me long. So then it became a question of how long it took Holmes to arrive at the correct conclusion and, more importantly, how he does it. And given that, I would argue that one will get more out of this book if they are versed in Ripper and White Chapel facts as Faye accurately integrates the real events.
Overall, very enjoyable especially for the setting and mood but if one is looking for true thrills - seek elsewhere.
In Dust and Shadow Lyndsay Faye has advanced the Sherlock Holmes pastiche. It never strikes a false note in a procedural that pits Sherlock Holmes against the most notorious serial killer of the nineteenth century. I am better acquainted with the Holmesian canon than Ripperology but to my mind the scholarship necessary for this book to ring true is fully in place. We all know that Holmes would not have sat by idle while Jack the Ripper was terrorizing the prostitutes of Whitechapel. Despite a massive police search his identity remains a mystery to this day. Dust and Shadow does provide a plausible and original explanation. Holmes is presented as a feeling human being, rather than the "high functioning sociopath" from the series "Sherlock". This book is better for that characterization. Faye does not go for the cheap thrills but has written a thriller for thoughtful readers. Highly recommended.
on October 18, 2013
Sadly, this book was way too dry and dull, the story just never took off and it was so hard to keep reading.
I was basically forced to read it for a course and wish that we had something else to read. It took me hours to read only a handful of pages and that is very odd for me - usually I can read books very quickly. This one was just not engaging enough.