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The Crack in the Lens [Kindle Edition]

Darlene A. Cypser
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

If someone had asked Sherlock Holmes later in the year, there is little doubt that he would have said his life began that spring day in 1871 when he met Violet Rushdale upon the moors and ended in the winter some months distant. His mother would have disputed the former claim, and many, both friend and foe, would come to deny the latter. Yet what happened that year nearly cost him his life and his sanity, and strongly influenced the man he was to become.

It is well known that the toughest steel that makes the sharpest swords must be plunged into the fire, then beaten and reshaped. So it is as well with the best and wisest of men.

Editorial Reviews


... tells an engrossing story of the boy Holmes and at the same time explores the reasons why the man Holmes turned out as he did. --Roger Johnson, Editor of The District Messenger, Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Cypser's teenage Sherlock is a man perched on the cusp of greatness, and her vision of how the Great Detective was ultimately fashioned is both devastating and captivating. --Better Holmes & Gardens Blog

It gives a look at the young man before he became the calculating machine described by Watson and how his interest in solving the unsolvable originated. --Book Eater Blog

The Crack in the Lens is a well-written story of Sherlock Holmes' early life in Yorkshire. --Peter Blau, Editor of Scittlebits & Bytes

About the Author

Darlene A. Cypser was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, during elementary school and high school before returning to Norman, Oklahoma for college and law school. In 1987 she moved to Boulder, Colorado where she practiced law until 1999 when she began producing and selling movies, and running other businesses. Darlene is currently producing a movie set in 18th century England based on Alfred Noyes' poem The Highwayman.

Darlene became an avid follower of Sherlock Holmes when she was in high school and she attended some meetings of the Hudson Valley Sciontists in her teens. Since then she has corresponded with a number of Sherlockians around the world and been a member of a number of Sherlockian groups including Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients and the Hounds of the Internet. Darlene's first contact with the Baker Street Irregulars was an exchange of correspondence with Dr. Julian Wolff in the 1970s and she wrote two "trifling monograms" which were published by the Baker Street Journal in the mid-1980s when Philip Shreffler was the editor. She is writing a sequel trilogy which follows Sherlock Holmes through his years at the university and into his early career.

Product Details

  • File Size: 438 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0971855250
  • Publisher: Foolscap & Quill (March 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TNGL2U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of Sherlock Holmes January 15, 2011
This book is the first of a series of novels which Ms. Cypser is planning to describe Sherlock's life through University and his early career as a detective.

In contrast to a number of recent Sherlockian efforts, this book was written and edited by a professional. I found only one trivial error, although I am sure there are a few more. The writing is clear and direct, with prose that evokes the Yorkshire Dales and the people who have lived there from time out of mind. For a while I found myself recalling the first seasons of the series, "All Creatures, Great and Small" with it lovely scenery and wonderful characters.

The story is sad, with Sherlock going through a late adolescence and having to cope with a very demanding tutor, one Professor James Moriarty. We are introduced to Mycroft and to their older brother, Sherrinford as well as to Squire Siger and Mrs. Holmes. The wild and lovely scenery is a backdrop for a tale of madness, love and deceit with a few side trips into the normal world of family and friends. Sherlock's sickly childhood and family relations are explored in some depth as part of coming to understand his nature.

There are several questions left unanswered, but I suspect that the author has a few more facts to pass along at opportune times. Certain actions by Squire Holmes and Professor Moriarty require explanation, and the futures of several introduced characters leave room for growth and development. The story ends with a recapitulation of the events in "The Gloria Scott" that put Sherlock firmly on path to be the world's first consulting detective.

This is not a happy book nor is it light reading. It is a tale about forging a boy into a man, as one heats, pounds, tempers and quenches steel.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full review of The Crack in the Lens April 20, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Crack in the Lens

Darlene Cypser has pulled off an amazing conjuring trick with The Crack in the Lens, writing an original Sherlock Holmes story that is in no way a Sherlock Holmes story and that owes more to Emily Brontë than Arthur Conan Doyle.

Cypser's novel introduces us to 17-year-old Sherlock, happy to have returned to his Yorkshire home. He is the youngest son of the forbidding squire, Siger Holmes, with older brothers Mycroft and Sherrinford. His father considered him a delicate child who suffered from pneumonia growing up and has little faith in the young man he is about to be. Siger Holmes hopes his son will enter university and train to be an engineer, a suitable profession for a youngest son who would not inherit the family estate. And to that end Siger Holmes has engaged a professor of mathematics who will tutor -- and torture -- the boy.

But at first young Sherlock is simply happy to be home and free to roam the moors. Of course it's on the moors that he meets Violet Rushdale, daughter of one of his father's tenant farmers. It's a star-crossed match: the squire's son and the daughter of a tenant who's fallen to drink and is behind in the rent after the death of his wife. And of course being star crossed, the attraction is irresistable and one day after Sherlock and Violet slip and fall in freezing water and seek shelter in a prehistoric hut and ... well, as I said, The Crack in the Lens is more Brontë than Doyle and young Sherlock is not the misogynist of Watson's years.

One of the most amazing parts of Cypser's conjuring trick is that it's so simple.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crack in the Lens Gives a Clear Picture January 22, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author has done a wonderful job of "filling-in the background" of Sherlock Holmes. She has taken the few known facts about Holmes's youth, embellished them with the suppositions of other authors (William Baring-Gould, for one), and added an engrossing narritive that tells us of his tragic lost love and his first crossing of wills with Professor Morarity. The story is engrossing and the pace makes it difficult to put this one down until finished.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Crack in the Lenses February 14, 2012
By BigAl
Format:Kindle Edition
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. **
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills in gaps in Sherlock Holmes life
The author offers a compelling story of Sherlock Holmes early life and fascinating explanation for the events that shaped him into the man he became. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jean Y. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and entertaining - Kindle
Arrived as always in a few seconds. This prequel to Conan Doyle's series is lots of fun; the only problem is that it ends too soon. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Daniel Olson
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip it
I read a fair amount of non-Conan Doyle Holmes stories. This one has been one of the most disappointing so far. Poor writing and soggy characters and general mopiness.
Published 22 months ago by Ramona Darling
5.0 out of 5 stars A must !
If you just love Sherlock then this story and the following series are a must. Certainly rings true that this could be how Sherlock became Sherlock. The author is a must!
Published 22 months ago by SouthernBelle2010
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun escape book.
If you are looking for a deep Sherlockian essay this is not a book for you.
If you are looking for a fun read about the early life of Sherlock Holmes, you will enjoy this... Read more
Published on September 9, 2012 by John T. foster
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, page-turning look into the beginnings of Sherlock...
As one reads through the canon, it's easy to believe, along with Watson, that Sherlock Holmes is "an isolated phenomenon," that he simply sprang forth a wholly-formed adult... Read more
Published on July 13, 2012 by Leah G
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Could Give More Than Five Stars
I'm in contact with Ms Cypser on Facebook and asked her if she had any copies of this book she'd be willing to send me, since I wanted to read and review it for my Sherlock Holmes... Read more
Published on May 6, 2012 by Kate Workman
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the sequel
A story of the seventeen year old Sherlock Holmes - the highly intelligent and somewhat misunderstood youngest son of a very demanding father. Read more
Published on December 7, 2011 by JoLynn
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine pastiche
First, a disclaimer: I am a member of the Hounds of the Internet, of which Darlene Cypser is also a member. Read more
Published on June 10, 2011 by Karen P. Rhodes
5.0 out of 5 stars Bottomline: Worth the money
I happened across "The Crack In The Lens" by Darlene Cypser after reading "The Sherlockian" by Graham Moore. This review is for Ms. Cypser's excellent work. Read more
Published on May 11, 2011 by JEFFREY MCGRAW
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More About the Author

Darlene Cypser has been an avid follower of Sherlock Holmes for over 30 years. She is a member of a number of Sherlockian groups including Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients (which she currently heads), the Hudson Valley Sciontists and The Hounds of the Internet. The Baker Street Journal (the official publication of the Baker Street Irregulars) published two articles that she wrote about the Sherlock Holmes stories in the 1980s. Her first Sherlock Holmes novel was The Crack in the Lens which is followed by The Consulting Detective Trilogy.

She is a writer, attorney, and movie producer. She is licensed to practice law in New York and Colorado. She practiced law in Boulder, Colorado from 1988-1999. Darlene began writing the Writer's Pocket Tax Guide in 1988 based on interactions with legal clients who were confused about how to handle their taxes. She added several companion Pocket Tax Guides over the years for daycare providers, small publishers, teachers, screenwriters, actors and filmmakers. The Pocket Tax Guide series is updated annually. She has written number of papers and articles which were published in magazines and professional legal and scientific journals on international space law, liability for induced seismicity, landlord and tenant law, intellectual property law, tax law and motion picture production and distribution. Darlene's first fiction story to be published was a ghost story published in October 1992 by the Boulder Daily Camera.

She is currently producing a movie based on Alfred Noyes' poem The Highwayman set in 18th century England. Darlene wrote the screenplay.

Darlene loves reading and writing about history, science and law, as well as fiction. She also enjoys hiking, cooking and photography.

Darlene Cypser currently lives in Douglas County, Colorado.

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