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The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – March 7, 2017
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A great pastiche requires an uncanny ear for Watson’s voice as well as a talent for a compelling story. Fortunately, Lyndsay Faye has plenty of both gifts, as she already proved in her near-perfect Dust and Shadow. For those who despair that Arthur Conan Doyle only gave us 60 stories of Holmes, rejoice! Here are 15 more treasures!”Leslie S. Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes
The Whole Art of Detection is a great look at the Victorian world and the criminal goings on that gave us Sherlock. The London of the late 19th Century is awash with would be criminal masterminds who must be contained. It’s a great look at the London of Holmes and the threats that emerge from an active criminal underground.”Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author of Mycroft Holmes
As full of wit as it is of twists, The Whole Art of Detection is a clever collection of deeply satisfying stories that capture the essence of Doyle’s work while marking an impressive addition to the Holmes canon.”Graham Moore, author of The Sherlockian and The Last Days of Night
The Whole Art of Detection belongs on the top shelf with the very best of Doyle's Holmes stories. Author Faye has captured the language, locutions and inventiveness of the original tales as well or better than any author I can think of it. It is absolutely essential reading for anyand everyaficionado who cherishes the real thing.”Nicholas Meyer, author of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution
A new Lyndsay Faye book is always noteworthy but for those Sherlockians among us who take our pastiches seriously, The Whole Art of Detection is a special cause for celebration. Faye’s mastery of Watson’s narrative voice and skilled plotting are, at this point, to be expected; as is her period research, which manages to be dazzling and unobtrusive at the same time. But it’s how she treats the Holmes/Watson relationship that is unique. The humor, the familiarity, the deep affection, the occasional arguments and hurt feelingsLyndsay Faye is matchless at rendering the very human people at the center of the most famous partnership in fiction. Truly, The Whole Art of Detection is a textbook of friendship.”Curtis Armstrong
“If Lyndsay Faye’s byline weren’t on the cover, readers might deduce that the Sherlock Holmes mysteries in The Whole Art of Detection actually came from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Her 15 short stories expertly re-create the style and substance of the originals in every way.”―Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX)
“Terrific . . . The feat that Lyndsay Faye has pulled off with The Whole Art of Detection is nothing short of amazing . . . It's not so much that she’s paying tribute to Sherlock Holmes, but more like she’s directly channeling the spirit of the late, great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”―Bookreporter
“Edgar-finalist Faye . . . presents pitch-perfect Watsonian narration . . . [An] outstanding collection . . . All impressively add psychological depth to the friendship, plausibly exploring personal dynamics in the wake of traumas such as the loss of Watson’s wife and Holmes’s apparent return from the dead, in a way that will resonate especially with fans of the BBC’s Sherlock.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Faye’s wonderful collection of pastiches is rooted in a little-understood fact about the Holmes canon: the stories are not about Holmes; they’re about Watson observing Holmes . . . There are mysteries here and razzle-dazzle deductions . . . but the real attraction is the power of these 15 stories to make the originals glow even brighter. For Holmesians to read, then treasure.”―Booklist (starred review)
“The impressively varied puzzles not only provide the detective the chance to display his famed powers of deduction, but increasingly humanize Holmes by putting him more and more on the side of the angels, giving him the chance to free women from perilous unions and save innocents from deception and fraud. Faye also restores Watson to Holmes' side and allows the relationship between the detective and his biographer to mature and mellow without altering either man's essential character. It's refreshing to see Holmes be Holmes. Fans and neophytes alike should cheer Faye's reinvigoration of Conan Doyle's hero and his panoramic world.”―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Faye’s prose seduces readers with familiar cadence and beautiful imagery, all while briskly unraveling story after story with clever plots and colorful characters . . . The Conan-Doyle touch is in full bloom in The Whole Art of Detection. Faye has a true gift for style and a fun eye for story . . . Throughout, the writing shines. Faye’s effortless prose mirrors Conan Doyle’s poetic sensibility and his flowing, elongated sentence style.”―New York Journal of Books
Sherlockians will be delighted, as will Faye’s many fans.”—Library Journal
“All [15 tales] have the distinctive style and creativity of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. It is a book Sherlock Holmes devotees will want to savor with small samplings.”―Mystery Scene“Readers will delight in these beautifully told tales about the beloved duo of Holmes and Watson, and will surely find themselves returning to this collection again and again.”―Bookish“A stunning collection . . . Faye expertly channels Watson’s voice as official biographer of the famous detective, and this collection would not be out of place among the very best stories of Sherlock Holmes . . . Lyndsay Faye’s wit blends charmingly with Conan Doyle’s style, bringing a new voice to the timeless tales of Sherlock Holmes . . . Absolutely a must read for anyone with an interest in Sherlock Holmes or mysteries set in Victorian London.”―Criminal Element
“A thrilling collection for Sherlock fans . . . Faye easily captures the essence of Holmes and Watson, both in voice and style.”―BookPage
“Faye has a grasp of Watson and Holmes’ partnership that few authors manage to bring to life on the page in quite the same way . . . An amazing collection.”―John H. Watson Society
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is a collection of short stories; the "lost mysteries." Many of them deal with Holmes early cases. I thought Faye's Holmes was as entertaining as Doyle's which is about the highest praise I can think of. Big kudos to the author!
Having been a fan of Faye’s work since she published Dust and Shadow, I expected to enjoy this book, and was thrilled to receive an ARC from NetGalley. What I did not expect was just how MUCH I enjoyed the book. Faye has a grasp of Watson and Holmes’ partnership that few authors manage to bring to life on the page in quite the same way. Here we see playful teasing, uproarious arguments, protectiveness and fondness, and a way of interacting that can only come about from decades of knowing each other.
The book is divided into four sections: Before Baker Street, in which Holmes or Watson tell a story to one another about a case they had before they met; The Early Years, which all take place before the Hiatus; The Return, which takes place in the immediate aftermath of the Hiatus; and The Later Years, which cover the years leading up to Holmes’ retirement.
Before Baker Street will bring to mind Gloria Scott and Musgrave Ritual. Even though either Holmes or Watson is absent from the mystery, however, they are very present within the story itself, either interjecting questions or asides, commenting on the action, or needing to take a break in order to adjust a blanket or eat some food. If one looks at Gloria Scott or Musgrave Ritual and misses Watson, then that shouldn’t be a concern here. He also presents his own case to Holmes, in a delightful turn of events.
The Early Years gives us four cases in which we explore the tentative beginnings to the friendship between Watson and Holmes. Faye is very aware that these stories take place before they were truly comrades-in-arms the way we think of them, and so she shows the gradual blossoming of their friendship as we go through. We are shown here vulnerable and deeply compassionate sides to Holmes, while Watson’s pawky humor comes through quite clearly, as well as his bravery and willingness to pursue justice. My favourite story in the entire collection, the Gaskell Blackmailing Dilemma, is in this section. This story takes place during HOUN, while Holmes is still in London, and is drawn entirely from Holmes’ journal entries… in which he rambles about Watson, rants about Watson, and worries about Watson. If you’ve ever wondered just how Holmes feels about Watson, or worried that he didn’t value the friendship, this story will put such fears to rest. It is a gem.
The Return, with most stories all taking place immediately after EMPT, focuses on the consequences of Holmes’ actions, and is possibly the bleakest of the four sections. The first story in the group is heart wrenching, with Mary Watson having just died and Watson not knowing what to do anymore. In the other stories, Holmes and Watson have to work through the emotional quandaries that arose from the Hiatus and, in The Willow Basket, we get to see just what Lestrade’s take on the whole thing is. Despite this being perhaps the saddest section, it is still immensely satisfying, and really gives weight to the Hiatus as a whole.
The Later Years feature your classic pastiches, with the focus truly being on the cases themselves. At this point, Holmes and Watson have largely sorted out any rocky patches in their friendship, and these are some of the years Watson claimed Holmes was at the height of his powers in Canon; the mysteries are, suitably, excellent.
Most of the stories in this collection feature an A plot, which focuses on the mysteries at hand, and a B plot, examining a facet of the relationship between Holmes and Watson. If the mysteries are at times predictable, it is the B plots that make this book a standout. It is an amazing collection, and you will want to have it on your shelf.
What About Our Watson?
The Watson that appears here is everything a good Watson should be: he’s loyal, he’s clever, he’s an excellent doctor, he’s brave and resolute, he’s funny, and he’s protective. The stories are told in a classic pastiche style, very reminiscent of Canon, but we are lucky here in that Watson isn’t edited out as much. He doesn’t come back into the story just to ask a question so that Holmes will explain something; instead, he is as much a part of the process of detective work as Holmes himself. His medical experience is featured heavily in these stories, in particular as Holmes’ doctor. Two stories, Colonel Warburton’s Madness and An Empty House feature Watson alone, with very little Holmes, and so we get experience a slightly difference view on him, unrelated to case work.
Perhaps the two best stories, however, for showcasing our Watson are the two stories that are drawn from Holmes’ notes. These are not done in the style of Lion’s Mane or Blanched Soldier, with Holmes attempting to write his own story. Instead, these are unfiltered, raw Holmes, straight from his journals, and so the Gaskell Blackmailing Dilemma and The Diadem Club Affair show us exactly how Holmes sees his friend, and, more importantly, gives us an unedited view on what Watson is truly like, without his authorial hand adjusting things. Watson is steadfast and gentle, brave and bullheaded, sarcastic and intelligent. It’s a brilliant portrayal, and immensely satisfying for a Watsonian.
You Might Like This If You Like:
Bert Coules' radio dramas; friendship stories; the tin box mysteries with new plots; classic pastiche collections