Out my window there is something that I haven’t seen in an age, sunshine. So it is strange timing that today’s book review takes us to rainy, cloudy, smoggy Victorian England. That’s right, we have a Sherlockian take on the Jack the Ripper killings.
Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye. I have deep affection for Sherlock Holmes that compelled me to take a chance on this debut novel from Lyndsay Faye. That said, I kept my expectations low. There have been so many reimaginings of Holmes that try to delve into his psyche (I’m sorry Caleb Carr, The Italian Secretary was okay but sometimes I just want the bad guy caught and not to delve into his relationship with his father) or put a new author’s spin on the character, that I cringe a little just at the idea of a NEW! Sherlockian adventure. But with Lyndsay Faye, I’m really glad I took a chance on it. Her account of Sherlock Holmes on the trail of Jack the Ripper was so good that it could have brought a tear of pride to Conan Doyle’s eye and it did earn an endorsement from his estate. Yep, it’s just that good. What I liked about this book is that Faye allows Holmes to simply be the Holmes that Doyle created and for the struggle to catch and stop Jack the Ripper to move the story along. Also, Faye adds period details that enhance the story rather than just show off her historical research, an artistic restraint that makes her writing seem more like a well-established novelist rather than a debutante to the genre. I can’t recommend this book highly enough and it irks me that this was Faye’s debut novel—when I finished Dust and Shadow I wanted to dash out and read more stuff by Faye. I can only cross my fingers and hope that she hurries up and cranks out many more books just as good as this one.
*Tomorrow I’ll share a review on a Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson, Murder on Astor Place.