Betsy's Reviews > The Crack in the Lens

The Crack in the Lens by Darlene A. Cypser
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's review
Mar 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: stories-retold
Read from April 24 to 25, 2012 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** One of the things I love about Sherlock Holmes is how much freedom there is to do whatever you want with him, and the fact that someone does something with him you may not have done doesn't change anything. It doesn't change anything about Canonical Holmes, and it has no bearing on whatever your favorite adaptation happens to be (Benedict Cumberbatch FTW!), and it doesn't change "your" Holmes; the Holmes you create to answer those questions that pop up while reading ACD's Canon. Don't laugh, you know you do it too. How many wives did Watson have? What college did Holmes go to, and what was his childhood like?

So even though this book goes against plenty of my Holmes headcanon, it doesn't matter at all. It's an interesting glimpse at someone else's idea of what Holmes's life was like before Watson. I don't usually like Holmes as a romantic interest with anyone (my headcanon: he's aromantic asexual), but the romance here was...plausible, and it leads to him becoming the very mysoginistic, messed-up detective we all know and love. Besides, it's no less ridiculous than the once-widely held notion that Holmes met up with Irene Adler during the Great Hiatus and became the father of Nero Wolfe. Or that Moriarty was actually a woman that Holmes married during the Great Hiatus. That one goes against so much Sherlock Holmes canon that it makes my head hurt. This doesn't. This book tries and succeeds in fitting its theories into existing canon, which is something I like.

The other thing that goes against my headcanon is that Holmes had met Professor Moriarty in his youth (usually, as here, with the Professor as his tutor). I just think it's too coincidental, but I have to say I really like her Moriarty. He could truly become the Moriarty of canon. I was actually picturing Granada's Moriarty as I read, so that's a win.

The addition of Sherrinford is something I flip flop about. While I believe that there were only two Holmes brothers, I sometimes like to play with the idea of Sherrinford. And I can't deny that it makes sense for there to be an elder Holmes brother taking care of the family property while Mycroft is off being the British government and Sherlock is busy being the world's greatest detective. Plus, I really like her Sherrinford. It's an interesting idea to have him be the less intellectual of the three, which then adds a really great dimension to the relationship between Sherlock and Mycroft as well. In fact, that's one of my only complaints: more Mycroft please! And more Sherrinford. And more Holmes family story...I definitely found that to be my favorite part. (But really, especially more Mycroft because he was hardly even here, and I really like Mycroft).

Anyone remember when it used to be weird to find a book like this that referred to Holmes as Sherlock throughout? That's something that would have thrown me pre-BBC Sherlock (it did even in the ACD stories when Mycroft was around and Watson had to use first names to distinguish them), but doesn't anymore. It's a testament to her writing ability that I wasn't picturing Benedict Cumberbatch throughout...I was picturing a younger version of Canon Holmes. So again, another win.

It is fairly obvious that it's a self-published novel, but that doesn't take away from the story, and I'm looking forward to the sequel! (I won this off of
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