Details of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes' early life are sketchy in the novels and short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Filling in this gap with stories of what Holmes' early life might have been has turned into a small cottage industry, with books and even a movie, Barry Levinson's 1985 film "Young Sherlock Holmes". I hesitate to call this fan fiction because, unrestrained by copyright law (the Holmes stories are now in the public domain), authors of these works aren't limited to passing the stories amongst each other. Those with skill and ambition can aim for a much larger audience. With "The Crack in the Lens," we have the first of a series telling the story of Sherlock's early life as envisioned by one Holmes fan.
It has been forever since I've read any of Conan Doyle's books, but the character of Holmes is ingrained in my memory (as I think it is in many readers, at least of my generation and earlier). Spotting the glimmerings of what Holmes would become in Cypser's take on his early years was easy, although I expect more avid fans would notice even more. In this installment, Holmes falls in love for the first time and first crosses swords with Professor Moriarty. He learns a lot about human nature and how people present different aspects of themselves to different people. The last is also at the root of a mystery that Holmes attempts to unravel as he uses the just-forming logical deduction skills that will be his stock-in-trade as he grows older.
Although this book has some issues with typos and proofing (roughly one error per the equivalent of ten printed pages), I found it entertaining in spite of this. A must read for the diehard Holmes fan or anyone interested in one take on Holmes' beginnings.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **