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

Lyndsay Faye
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.38
You Save: $5.62 (35%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It has been more than 120 years since his last murder, so perhaps we should allow Jack the Ripper to rest in peace. Not a chance! The slashing murders and mutilations committed by perhaps history’s most notorious serial killer terrified the impoverished residents of the Whitechapel area of London’s East End in 1888. Because the killer was never caught, who better to track him down than the greatest Victorian-era sleuth, Sherlock Holmes? Faye narrates the investigation through the supposed memoir of Holmes’ constant companion, Dr. Watson. Faye displays a superb grasp of the known facts about the murders, and she effectively captures the vibrancy and squalor of the underclass in late-nineteenth-century London. Although her effort to mimic Conan Doyle’s literary style seems a bit strained, she knows how to unfold a tale of murder and mystery. Holmes, typically brilliant and relentless, unpeels layer after layer of confusion and deceit as the dramatic tension builds and bursts. Mystery aficionados, especially those with an interest in the Ripper murders, will find this work a worthy revisiting of the case. --Jay Freeman

Product Details

  • File Size: 704 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026A6BVE
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,717 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock Holmes and 'Saucy Jack' April 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Review: This is a first novel for Ms. Faye and it is subtitled "An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson." As a Sherlockian scholar, I maintain a database of Sherlockian pastiches, parodies and related fiction. Among other things, this database keeps reference to the subjects of its entries and "Jack the Ripper" is the single most popular subject for pastiche writers, other than "The Hound of the Baskervilles." There are at least seventy five different items on file about attempts to tell the story of JACK, including Ellery Queen's excellent "A Study in Terror" and Carol Nelson Douglas' two volumes from her Irene Adler series; "Chapel Noir" and "Castle Rouge."

The literature on the Ripper killings is also complex and lengthy. Numerous individuals have been nominated for the role and reasons for the abrupt end to the killings are also legion. Among the Sherlockian offerings, the number of ripper suspects approaches seventy five with almost as many explanations offered for the end to the killings. Although the Sherlockian works are often interesting, they offer little in the way of solid evidence from history for their resolutions of the questions left by the events. The true Ripper Literature tends toward the `Police Procedural' school and is often merely gross, with little entertainment value except to sensationalists.

In this book, one is taken by the Good Doctor along on an investigation by The Master into the world of monsters. This is not the world of Vampires and Ghosties; instead a sense of growing horror brings both the investigators and the reader to the awarenes of the monsters that dwell amongst us, the human monsters that may be our neighbors or our contemporaries.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commendable debut and satisfying pastiche April 28, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Having grown-up on a steady diet of Sherlock Holmes' stories as well as the macabre tale of Jack the Ripper [thanks to mom who is an ardent true crime fan], my interest was piqued by this latest pastiche of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes' stories. Though I'm no Sherlockian scholar, I thought Lyndsay Faye's debut was well-written and made for a riveting read, engrossing me in the period details as much as the intriguing plot and character development.

In "Dust and Shadow", the master detective Sherlock Holmes, and his able sidekick Dr John H Watson undertake to solve a series of gruesome murders committed in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. Those familiar with the story of Jack the Ripper know that the number of victims attributed to the Ripper totaled five in all: Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth "Long Liz" Stride, "Catherine Eddowes", and "Mary Jane Kelley". In this pastiche, the author attributes another earlier murder to the Ripper, that of Martha Tabram, who was murdered on Aug 7th 1888, a victim of multiple stab wounds [39 in all].

In the process of solving the murders and uncovering the killer's identity, Holmes himself falls victim to the press of the day, and his very reputation is put on the line as he has to deal with speculations that he himself may have something to do with the murders. Thus the stage is set for a true potboiler, with rich period details and complex characterizations that had me racing through the pages.

I am amazed that this is a debut novel by the author - she writes with flair and assurance, and through the authentic re-creation of Whitechapel in 1888, manages to transport readers into a world that seems altogether familiar.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarn April 29, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The idea of Sherlock Holmes facing off against Jack the Ripper is such a natural (they "operated" in the same time frame) that one is surprised that Conan Doyle didn't use it himself. But no worries, at least a dozen others have used it since. Probably the best novel version is Nicholas Meyers' "The West End Horror', and, undeniably, the best film version is "Murder by Decree" starring Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as the best Watson ever! All of which is a long-winded way of saying that each new version must be viewed by, not the originality of the idea, but how well each writer pulls it off. By that standard, first time author Lyndsay Faye pulls it off very well indeed, thank you. Her Holmes, Watson, indeed all her characters, are more than credible as human beings and, within the confines of paying all due homage to the Conan Doyle canon, she manages not a few very interestting surprises of her own. A must for Sherlockians and a damn good read for anyone else!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could've Been Better June 8, 2009
By Griff
Format:Hardcover
I have read a great many Sherlock Holmes' take-offs, pastiches, etc. over the years. Some were pretty good, some were OK and most were awful. This lastest attempt to combine Holmes and the Ripper kind of falls on the line between "good" and "OK".

Lyndsay Faye does a very nice job in recreating the "Watsonian voice". Her narrative through Watson's eyes is spot-on with the canon stories. She does well also in her descriptions and dialogs. She might have over-done her attempt to create a deeper (or maybe more obvious) friendship between Holmes and Lestrade but what's the fun of playing with established charaters if you can't do a bit of creative interpreting?

My real complaint is that the story itself was rather bland. The idea of bringing Holmes and the Ripper together is not a new one and it has been better done. The history of Jack the Ripper is well-known and gives a pretty rigid framework to operate in. An author really only needs to be creative with the actual criminal. Who was the Ripper? Why did he commit such crimes? How would someone like Sherlock Holmes approach this case?

Ms. Faye does answer those questions but the whole thing kind of flopped for me. At first the inclusion of a female hired by Holmes to serve as an inside source seemed to be a good idea. But as the story progressed it actually got rather tedious and felt unnecessary. The emotions surrounding the case lacked, too. I got no sense of terror when she described the riots in Whitechapel. There was no real feeling of panic or desperation. And there were no brilliant deductions from Holmes himself. In the end the criminal himself and the reasons behind his behavior seemed a bit stretched and rather hurried.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The last 80 or so pages are complete page-turners.
This was a very entertaining Holmes pastiche and a very well written first effort by Ms. Faye. It is not the only Holmes / Ripper story that I have read but it is quite possibly... Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Ken
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done, true to the original style, and engaging story.
Excellent effort and a thoroughly enjoyable book. The author is to be commended for the manner in which she stayed true to the style in which the original stories were written. Read more
Published 6 days ago by jwinch2
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice take on Holmes
Well written, lots of fun.
Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, my, yes.
It is inevitable that writers feel a deep-seated urge to pit Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars Watson's voice is wonderfully captured in this new Sherlock Holmes...
I really enjoyed the book. Having read Sherlock Holmes stories many times, I thought the author caught the voice of Watson beautifully. Read more
Published 1 month ago by halfpass
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir AC Doyle would have been proud!!!
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. After reading the first few chapters, I found reasons to keep reading and put the kids, house, etc. all on hold until I got done. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite forgot I was not reading Conan Doyle
This was a very gripping, well written Sherlock Holmes story. The tone was so close to Conan Doyle's I many times forgot I was not reading an original Sherlock Holmes story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Frank
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks surprise and energy
While good at evoking the Sherlockian mythos, the deductions and adventures leading to the identification of the Ripper never amaze or thrill.
Published 2 months ago by Ina R. Hark
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and thoughtful
Captured the essence of the Victorian London within which Sherlock Holmes existed and worked. Am not that familar with the original Conan Doyle - although have seem many film and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jude the Obscure
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
If you enjoy historical fiction, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. I think the author does a wonderful job of re-creating both the characters of Holmes and Watson and their... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lynn OBrien
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More About the Author

Lyndsay Faye moved to Manhattan in 2005 to audition for work as a professional actress; she found her days more open when the powers that be elected to knock her day-job restaurant down with bulldozers. Her first novel Dust and Shadow: an Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H Watson is a tribute to the aloof genius and his good-hearted friend whose exploits she has loved since childhood. Faye's love of her adopted city led her to research the origins of the New York City Police Department, the inception of which exactly coincided with the start of the Irish Potato Famine. Her second and third novels, The Gods of Gotham and its sequel, follow ex-bartender Timothy Wilde as he navigates the rapids of his violently turbulent city, his no less chaotic elder brother Valentine Wilde, and the perils of learning police work in a riotous and racially divided political landscape.

After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lyndsay migrated to Belmont, California and graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University with a dual degree in English and Performance. She worked as a professional actress throughout the Bay Area for several years, nearly always in a corset, and if not a corset then at the very least heels and lined stockings. As her roles ranged from Scrooge's lost fiancée in A Christmas Carol to Lavinia DuPlessy in Andrew Lippa's world premiere of A Little Princess, whalebone prevented her from drawing a natural breath for a number of years. She is a soprano with a high pop belt, if it interests you. Her performances were generally reviewed well, with adjectives ranging from "soaring" and "delightful" to "sausage-curled."

Lyndsay and her husband Gabriel Lehner live just north of Harlem with their cats, Grendel and Prufrock. During the few hours a day Lyndsay isn't writing or editing, she is most often cooking, or sampling new kinds of microbrew, or thinking of ways to creatively mismatch her clothing. She is a very proud member of AEA, MWA, ASH, and BSI (Actor's Equity Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, and the Baker Street Irregulars, respectively). She is hard at work on the sequel to The Gods of Gotham.

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