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

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

Lyndsay Faye

Simon and Schuster, Dec 1 2009, $14.00

ISBN: 9781416583318

 

In 1939, Dr. John Watson recalls the gruesome events in 1888 in Whitechapel that terrorized the residents of London.  The terror began with a violent murder followed rather quickly with an equally brutal killing.  London was shaken by the viciousness of the violence in a part of town used to cruelty.

 

Sherlock Holmes joins the Scotland Yard investigation into the two homicides to the elation of beleaguered Inspector Lestrade.   As Holmes begins to interrogate family members, more murders occur and the media calls the killer “Jack the Ripper”.  When Jack learns of Holmes’ interest in the murder spree, he sends the great sleuth taunting notes.  Holmes follows clues that lead to confrontation with Ripper who severely slashes the detective.  When Sherlock vanishes to heal and the exorbitant murder spree stops, investigative reporter Dunlevy proclaims Holmes is probably the Ripper.

 

The Ripper serial murders are used more as a means to provide the audience with a deep look at Holmes and late Victorian England through the aging memory of what Watson recalls of late ninetieth century London.  Who Ripper is proves not important as the audience will figure out early on his identity, but his reign of terror leads to a deep look at Holmes and a very competent Lestrade struggling to not lose it as he begins to suffer from PTSD with the case dragging on and the murder count rising.  Holmes fans will enjoy this fresh take on the great detective although he has battled Ripper before (see Michael Didbin’s The Last Sherlock Holmes Story).

 

Harriet Klausner

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