Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson” as Want to Read:
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,289 ratings  ·  469 reviews
From the gritty streets of nineteenth century London, the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson offers a tale unearthed after generations of lore: the harrowing story of Sherlock Holmes's attempt to hunt down Jack the Ripper.

As England's greatest specialist in criminal detection, Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer responsible for terrifying London's

Hardcover, 325 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 11th 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dust and Shadow, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dust and Shadow

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
The Gods of Gotham was great so wanted to try Faye again. Pretty gutsy for a debut don’t you think? To take on Sherlock Holmes and pit him against Jack the Ripper, had to read it just to see if she'd pull it off - she did. Obviously did her homework, it’s pretty fabulous, with Faye’s strength again her mastery of dialect. The Sherlock characters are faithfully rendered plus she’s thrown in Mary Ann Monk, an enchanting gin-swilling tart who “proves herself to be a woman of extraordinary fortitude...more
This was fun, terribly fun. How can a book about the Ripper killings be fun? It is fun because the murderer is c aught, by none other than Sherlock Holmes! The feeling of London in 1888 is accurately described. I am absolutely no expert of either Sir Conan Doyle or the Ripper killings, but having listened to this book I feel I am well acquainted with both now.

If you are worried that the story could be too gory, don’t worry. It isn’t. The delight you get from this book is how Sherlock Holmes sol...more

I was encouraged to listen to this audiobook by the enthusiastic reviews of GR friends (thanks Tracey and Chrissie!) and by my own positive experience of listening to Simon Vance's excellent narration of a very different kind of novel, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. As I expected, Vance is excellent. His voices are appropriate for the characters, each one easily distinguishable from the others. If Vance has a weakness as a narrator, it's in his voices for young female characters. Howe...more
Amy Sturgis
It's entirely possible I've cast a shadow over the rest of my reading of Holmesian pastiches by devouring this novel so early in my project. I'm not quite sure how others will compete. That said, I can't remember when I've enjoyed savoring the first reading of a book as much. (Maybe The Thirteenth Tale last year? Although I think Dust and Shadow may exceed that experience, as well.) Lyndsay Faye delivered all I was wanting in this ambitious novel: excellent characterizations of the main characte...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
It is inevitable that writers feel a deep-seated urge to pit Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. The murders happened in the midst of Holmes's career; his contemporary readership must have wished he could step out of the pages and hunt down their nightmare for them. So it's no surprise that this is not the first time the idea has been pursued; there have been a couple of films (Murder by Decree with Christopher Plummer and James Mason as Holmes and Watson, and A Study in Terror), a handful...more
Okay let me start by saying that anyone who takes on the gargantuan task of attempting to put on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mantel and manages to stay true to the world, language and spirit of Sherlock Holmes is to be commended. Its no small feat that Lyndsay Faye, a clearly talented writer, is so successful in grasping Sherlock and Watson's personalities and the dynamic of their relationship so well. There is a tendency, with the exception of Jeremy Brett's fabulous interpretation, in film and te...more
Philip K.
This is a first novel for Ms. Faye and it is subtitled “An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson.” As a Sherlockian scholar, I maintain a database of Sherlockian pastiches, parodies and related fiction. Among other things, this database keeps reference to the subjects of its entries and “Jack the Ripper” is the single most popular subject for pastiche writers, other than “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” There are at least seventy five different items on file about attempts to tell...more
Christopher Roden
Sherlock Holmes pastiche is a tricky subject. Picking up on the scenes of the times is one thing - and Lyndsay Faye does a good enough job with that, seemingly having researched London of the time. Capturing the language of the times, and the language and style of Conan Doyle is another, and whilst Faye has made a promising stab at doing that, DUST AND SHADOW still contains material that would never have made it into THE STRAND MAGAZINE. Rough as one of Holmes's associates is - and street ladies...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

As I've mentioned here before, I'm one of the millions out there with an obsessive love for the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, originally the product of Victorian genre author Arthur Conan Doyle but that has since passed into the public domain, which now that anyone can write stories conc...more
Mar 22, 2013 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rachel by: Christin
Listen, you all know how stingy I am with my 5-star ratings, because I've mentioned it only about a million times. I usually have to sleep on it before I can figure out if I'm really going to give it 5 stars or not. I have done just that, and I think this one deserves it.

Even if you think you've figured out some of the answer, there's always more to it than you could possibly imagine, and the thoughtfulness and planning of this story, in itself, deserves the 5 stars. So when you add to it how w...more
I am neither a devotee of Sherlock Holmes nor of Ripperology (the study of Jack the Ripper), but I did find this book very engaging. I think that the author caught the rhythm and atmosphere of Conan Doyle’s fiction very well—there were only a few instances where modern sensibilities slipped through. By and large, I felt that Holmes and Watson behaved very authentically and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to my Sherlock-obsessed friends.

Mind you, I am also a fan of forensics-based mysteries,...more
One of the wonderful things about this site is that the friends you make here recommend books to you. Derek recommended "Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr John H. Watson" to me. I am so very glad he did.

I admit I was worried at first, because Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper has been done to death in both books and film. I need not have worried as "Dust and Shadow" is an excellent Sherlock Holmes pastiche.

The story fairly rips along (sorry) and the original characters ha...more
Riju Ganguly
Holmes v/s Ripper has always been a favourite subject of discussion among people fascinated with the subjects of crime & retribution, essentially to "prove" that had there been any body like Sherlock Holmes in London, 1888, he must have caught the Ripper, and therefore, Holmes did not exist. Those who wish to bring the two Victorian icons (yes, even as you wince thinking about it, swirling fog brings the fiend of Whitechapel to mind as easily as it recalls Sherlock Holmes) together had alway...more
I loved this book! I loved it in Audio! I loved listening to Simon Vance and all of his voices! I was in heaven the whole time I was listening.

What a great story! I cannot believe I almost did not want to read it. Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper just sounded too wierd!

I could listen to it all over again, right now.

I want to tell everyone that I know that they HAVE to listen to it!

colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
Yet another book where I'm wavering between 2 and 3 stars. (There have been far too many of these recently. Of course, I suppose it could be worse... )

Anyway -

I first became aware of this book looking on a friends to-read shelf, and when I saw that it combines Sherlock Holmes with Jack the Ripper, I had to read it. (I have since learned that there are actually a crap-ton of Holmes/Ripper books, but this was the first I encountered.)

First, to the good. Faye does a decent job of mimicking Doyle,...more

Autumn 1888 and London is in the grip of a killer. When an unfortunate woman is killed outside a pub in the meanest part of Victorian London, there is only one man who can uncover the truth before more lives are lost. So enters the Great Detective himself, Sherlock Holmes, into the Jack the Ripper investigation. Soon Holmes and his trusty companion Dr. Watson are racing through the twisted alleys and back ways of Whitechaple on the heels of a very cunning killer. Thwarted at every turn, merciles...more
A certain part of reviewing and rating any book is analyzing just what a book was "going for." This is the same reason a person can give five star ratings to both "Of Mice and Men" and "Oh, The Places You'll Go!". Two very different works that are nearly perfect at what they are attempting to be. It is not fair to say, just because that book is from this genre or that genre it CAN'T be a five star book.

All that is preamble to say that this book about Sherlock Holmes and the Jack the Ripper killi...more
I'm 22 pages short of this book being completed, but I can't help review it prematurely. The more I read this, the more I realize I am in love with the story and the paid homage to Sherlock Holmes. It's a simple whodunit; but the writing, the pace, the, again, paid homage to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is wonderful, especially for being the writer's first novel. Gutsy I must say. Which helps me appreciate the author, Lindsaye Faye, for this being, again, her first novel and the fact that she...more
Talk about ambitious. Lyndsay Faye chose to tackle both Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes in her debut novel, Dust and Shadow. This novel is certainly not the first pastiche of Holmes, and it is not the first novel to deal with the infamous Ripper. What a challenging task Faye set for herself. The good news is that she passed with flying colors. She was able to achieve the voice and style of Arthur Conan Doyle, and she was able to create a fresh, absorbing story of the nefarious deeds of Londo...more
New novelist Lyndsay Faye has done what few have managed before. She has resurrected Sherlock Holmes and company. Faye succeeds admirably in creating the ambience of the original novels, and by pitting Holmes against Jack the Ripper, presents him with a challenge worthy of his talents. The world’s greatest detective emerges true to form, with arrogance and foibles intact. Dr. Watson, dear as ever, remains at his side, but in this tale, he takes a more active role than was his wont. The usual lov...more
For reasons that are entirely obvious, fans wishing to write new adventures for Conan Doyle's great detective have been drawn to the idea of placing Holmes in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. After all, the same setting easily encompasses the fictional protagonist and the serial killer who's reign of terror, real and murderous though it was, reads like the stuff of fiction. Lyndsay Faye does an impressive and mostly successful job in adding to this cannon with her fine debut novel, Dust and Shadow.

Mary Beth
I checked this book out of our local library only as a stop-gap read: I was waiting for the books on my library request list to trickle in, and I had nothing at home that I wanted to reread. I had my toddler by the hand(straining, yearning, struggling to run free!) and did a quick peruse of the "new books" section and found this book, grabbed it as a likely candidate, and checked it out before toddler meltdown. Wow! Am I glad that I did! It was a really enjoyable read and not at all the stop-gap...more
As far as Sherlock Holmes pastiche goes, this is one of the best I've read, in no small part due to how brilliant Faye is at capturing Watson's voice. I'm often thrown from the story while reading Holmes pastiche because Watson sounds off, and he's our gateway into the world at 221B Baker Street. However, this Watson is pitch-perfect as he details Holmes' struggle to uncover the identity of Jack the Ripper. Recommended for all Holmesians and Ripperites -- and even historical fiction afficianados...more
Ms. Faye tackles the two individuals in history everyone wishes could have truly crossed paths; Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes. The tone of this book is true to Sherlock Holmes and Ms. Lindsay does not alter the characters. The reader joins the investigation through the words of Dr. Watson and is taken through Whitechaple along with an interesting entourage to investigate the Ripper Killings.

In the 120+ years since the killings many theories have been put forth as to the identity of the kil...more
Steve Whitaker
A wonderful book. Faye captures both the voice and charm of the original stories, and wraps them around a compelling and well-paced tale. Certainly the best of the "Holmes vs. The Ripper" stories, and stands very well by itself. I recommend it to any lovers of Sherlock Holmes.
This was a great book - really fun to read, and my enjoyment was not at all impaired by imagining Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson. It made me want to go back and re-discover the original Sherlock Holmes stories, of which I've only read a few.
I wish I could add a sixth star. This book is wonderful, exciting and clever. I feel a bit sad that it's over now and I have to leave 221B again.
Mar 22, 2012 Vicki rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sherlockians, Mary Russell fans, historical mystery lovers
Recommended to Vicki by: Alice
Terrific Holmes pastiche about Holmes and Watson tracking Jack the Ripper. Giving this one the "Oliver Twist Badge"--I want more, please.
Dec 06, 2012 X5-494 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah, both Kathis, all Sherlock Holmes fans

There really is no other word for it.

This book is perfect from the beginning to the end.

Watson’s “voice” is spot on, and so is Holmes’. Lyndsay Faye captured both characters expertly and the “Victorian atmosphere” left nothing to be desired. I’d even go so far as to say, that Dust and Shadow could as well have been written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, himself. Though – not to sound blasphemous, or anything – I have to admit, that I might like this one even a bit better than (at least some...more
I swear that Lyndsay Faye has channeled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this book felt so much like an original Holmes story that if I hadn’t known who the author was I would have just assumed it was a Doyle story. This book can stand up alongside the Holmes canon with no fear of recriminations this is the best non-Doyle Holmes story I have ever read!

Who better to finally solve the Ripper case than Sherlock Holmes? However before he can solve the case he is accused of being the Ripper himself! This stor...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Whitechapel Horrors
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Giant Rat of Sumatra
  • The Revenge of the Hound: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Scroll of the Dead
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Man From Hell
  • My Dearest Holmes
  • The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
  • Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes in America
  • The Night Calls
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Holmes
  • A Study In Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery
  • The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, MD
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Stalwart Companions
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: War of the Worlds
  • The Breath of God (Sherlock Holmes)
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Ectoplasmic Man
The Gods of Gotham (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #1) Seven for a Secret (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #2) Seven for a Secret Free Preview Watson and Holmes: Volume 2 The Gospel of Sheba

Share This Book

“As he passed a hand over his eyes, I recalled the he could not have slept more than twenty hours in the last seven days. For the first time since I had known him, Sherlock Holmes appeared to be exhausted by work rather than inaction.

"Because if I am right," he murmured, "I haven't the first idea what to do.”
“More accurately, on the bed and on the table lay various pieces of what had once been a body.

Holmes was leaning with his back against the wall, his countenance deathly white. "The door was open," he said incongruously. "I was passing by, and the door was open."

"Holmes," I whispered in horror.

"The door was open," he said once more, and then buried his face in his hands.”
More quotes…