Friday, January 2, 2015

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson

I have been taking a small break from reading due to the holidays and such. Hopefully, this year I will be more productive and have several more postings for those that are curious about my adventures throughout the land of Fiction : )


I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and share the view of millions that he is THE Master Detective. There has always been something about the insolvability of the Ripper Killings that has not set right with me and I have wondered if they had captured/killed the individual without revealing the identity to the press due to a possible relation to Queen and Country. When I came across this book, one that combines them both together, I naturally had to read it.

Lyndsay Faye did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit and dialogue of Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion Dr. Watson. She must have done a great deal of reading and research to make sure that the language and style were just so in order not to offend the many Sir Arthur Conan Doyle loyal fans out there. (Myself included). I could picture Holmes the way I always have and could almost hear the sounds of his violin as he played.

Faye's attention to detail and the style of her writing were her strengths. The fact that she must have spent countless hours researching the killings is also to be commended. However, sometimes I felt that the pacing seemed to fall off or slow down considerably and I lost a little focus at times, but those are mere knit picking items. As to the Ripper and his identity, I thought the choice was very wise and seemed incredibly probably in terms of the times. It would have been nice to have had a little more development of that character, since by all accounts, the Ripper was quite playful in terms of trying to bait the media and public. The motive of the Ripper and as to WHY he killed all of those women was lacking as well, which is why I have given this book 4 out of 5.

If you love detective novels and are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then you should not pass up reading this book. If you are not into detective novels and do not care about the reasoning behind Jack the Ripper, then you would probably not like this book. However, I think you would be passing by a wonderfully descriptive historical fiction thriller that will have you dreaming of old London streets and its great detectives.

Rating: 4 out 5
I borrowed this book from my local library; I was not paid to give a review of this book.