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

Written by Lyndsay Faye
Review by Suzanne Sprague

If Sherlock Holmes had been real rather than just a work of fiction, his expertise would have most certainly been requested to solve a case that baffled and embarrassed the denizens of Scotland Yard—the case of Jack the Ripper. Faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s depiction of a master sleuth and his loyal companion, Faye has Watson narrate, chronicling Holmes’s activities as he seeks the person responsible for the increasingly gruesome killings of Whitechapel women before the public, fueled by the tabloid press, convicts Holmes himself of the crimes.

While not an original premise, Faye’s pairing of Sherlock Holmes and the Jack the Ripper case is bolstered by extensive research, and her passion for Conan Doyle’s mysteries is evident. Faye’s Holmes has all expected quirks, and many of the usual characters such as Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and the Baker Street Irregulars make appearances throughout the investigation.

Sherlock Holmes aficionados will either love this book for its authenticity and frequent nods to Conan Doyle’s works or be appalled that anyone dare mimic the original. This reader found Faye’s Holmes a little less likeable, but completely intriguing, and recommends that all Sherlock Holmes fans give Dust and Shadow an opportunity to impress.