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The Crack in the Lens Paperback – March 28, 2013
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... 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 --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
About the Author
Darlene is a writer and attorney. She is licensed to practice law in New York and Colorado. 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. She was a legal adviser to Leslie Klinger in his case regarding the Sherlock Holmes copyrights. The Baker Street Journal (the official publication of the Baker Street Irregulars) published two articles that she wrote about Arthur Conan Doyles' stories in the 1980s and published her piece on "Adventures in Copyright" in 2014. Her first Sherlock Holmes novel was "The Crack in the Lens" which is followed by "The Consulting Detective Trilogy." Darlene 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 published was a ghost story published in October 1992 by the Boulder Daily Camera. Darlene is currently working on a Master's degree in History at the University of Colorado Denver. Darlene loves reading and writing about history, science, and law, as well as fiction. She also enjoys hiking, cooking and photography.
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Top customer reviews
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. Boy meets girl, boy is denied girl through the machinations of his tutor, girl denies boy thinking it best for him and ultimately boy loses girl, which I don't think is a spoiler because every woman reader who has ever felt for him knows he had a tragic past. If I can offer any criticism, it's that Sherlock must prove himself impossibly obtuse when confronted by Violet's denial. It's like those times Watson is confronted by Holmes in disguise and you can't believe the good doctor can be so easily fooled. But the misapprehension is important to the story and after all, young Sherlock is only seventeen, not wise in matters of love and also suffering under the slanders his tutor has laid before Siger Holmes.
Cypser's restraint is also admirable in not making too many winking nods to Sherlock's future as the great detective, with few in jokes I noticed other than a plausible relation to another great Doyle creation and many foreshadowings to Holmes' skill at boxing and fencing and his affinity with the working classes and children. I'm sure there are other Holmesian nods that Cypser has added that I have missed in my Watsonian clumsiness, but I think they are subtle.
Cypser has also created one of the great sick bed scenes of all times, rivaling anything from Austen, Brontë or Dumas and her forging of the detective Holmes from the crucible of young Sherlock's despair makes The Crack in the Lens has made a lasting impression on me.
Dialect is difficult for authors and readers, at times. Here the dialect, in this case that of Yorkshire, is not over-emphasized heavily, as is a problem in some novels. The author has relied on word choice, structure, and syntax more than on trying to use spelling alone to get the dialect across. Cypser has used orthographical expression of the dialect judiciously. It works very nicely for me, and I am usually highly critical of this aspect of a book.
The most jarring problem is not of Cypser's making, but consists in transcription errors which seem at this stage of production to be endemic to the Kindle versions of books. The Crack in the Lens has been a worthwhile use of my somewhat limited leisure-reading time.
If this were merely a story of first love, it would be (and is) quite charming. But this is Sherlock Holmes we're talking about, so we know the lovers' course will not be a smooth one. Enter Squire Holmes' choice of tutor for young Sherlock - the mysterious Professor Moriarty.
A thrilling battle of wits and wills ensues, replete with angry fathers, a stormy night on the moors, the threat of madness, and the beginnings of drug addiction. Possible origins of several facets of the Sherlock Holmes ouevre are introduced, making the story ever more fascinating.
Highly recommended for fans of Sherlock Holmes (of course), but also for those who enjoy the Brontes and historical fiction set in the 19th century. A great read.
Most recent customer reviews
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