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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  7,496 ratings  ·  987 reviews
In Dust and Shadow, Sherlock Holmes hunts down Jack the Ripper with impeccably accurate historical detail, rooting the Whitechapel investigation in the fledgling days of tabloid journalism and clinical psychology. This astonishing debut explores the terrifying prospect of hunting down one of the world's first serial killers without the advantage of modern forensics or prof ...more
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Simon & Schuster
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Lauren Wedgwood Mullens From memory - none at all. It focuses on Sherlock and John and they stumble across the bodies. It's London's Whitechapel so there's plenty of grit, bu…moreFrom memory - none at all. It focuses on Sherlock and John and they stumble across the bodies. It's London's Whitechapel so there's plenty of grit, but no rape scenes. There may be mention of their activities of course but fairly certain nothing graphic.
Sherlock is lovely here. He's young, carefree and generally quite charming if eccentric. A scene that sticks in my mind is Lestrade telling him he's been accused of the murders himself and, laughing, he offers to show him the wound the Ripper gave him by unbuttoning his shirt and the Detective says 'no no that's quite alright.'
So you know, appropriate for the time period.

The author has written stories involving illegal underage brothels before and has not gone into explicit detail, so I think you're safe.(less)

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(B+) 77% | Good
Notes: Clever, historically sensible and true to tone, but missing the requisite raison d'être present in every Holmes mystery.
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
"Once the sun has fallen, you can hardly see your hand before your face, and the slaughterhouses allow blood-spattered men to pass without remark."

Such is the district of Whitechapel, the legendary stomping grounds of the infamous killer, Jack the Ripper. I picked up this fantastic book for a challenge, never expecting to become quite so hooked!! In this one, Sherlock Holmes himself teams up with Dr. Watson, Scotland Yard's Lestrade, and a delightful new character, Miss Monk. Miss Monk was a ref
After a month of heavy readings and professional madness, I wanted some lovely, escapist stuff to take my mind off the gloomy weather and the office chaos. I had loved Ms. Faye’s great “Jane Eyre” homage “Jane Steele” ( and I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of her exploration of one of my favorite fictional universe: the London of Sherlock Holmes!

While I am huge fan of the Holmesian canon, I am far from an expert in Ripper-ology: my understanding i
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I started listening to the audiobook yesterday morning while trying to avoid having to go out into the snowy madness of town, and then got distracted by doing household chores.

However, there was a point where Faye's grumpy version Holmes (not how I see the original character, but it may well be how Faye interprets him) hooked me right back into the story.

The book really wasn't bad at all, which is probably the first time ever I say this about a Holmes pastiche.

I still had a problem with mixin
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fun, terribly fun. How can a book about the Ripper killings be fun? It is fun because the murderer is (view spoiler)! 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 b
This was really good! I haven’t read actual Sherlock and Watson stories in many years, but this has the feel of the stories I remember, though the Watson here was far less stupid than I remember the original character to be.
I felt the fogs and chills of London and the growing fear of Whitechapel inhabitants with each new grisly murder in this story. The Ripper’s identity was never solved, and many have their own pet ideas of who the serial murderer was; Lyndsay Faye puts forth an idea I had had
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Loved it...LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it!

A fan of Sherlock Holmes who is fascinated by Jack the Ripper, I started this with high expectations. And I was not disappointed. A big kudos to Lyndsay Faye for managing to successfully integrate these two popular characters in one fantastic mystery.

What can I say...she's nailed Holmes and Watson in a page turner that boldly and cleverly pits the greatest detective of all time against one of history's most notorious serial killers.

So enjoyed this and so sad it h
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
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's midnight, I'm yawning about once every 60 seconds, yet here I am finishing this book because the killer must be caught before I can be allowed to rest. And that's just about as high a praise as a book can get, yeah? ...more
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
Philip Jones
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5. The scene-setting is great and the language very authentic. I do feel some of Holmes's deductions required big leaps of assumption and extrapolation of facts. Dr Watson appeared to have tremendous idle time for a well-respected doctor. He was never with a patient and always ready to follow Holmes on his explorations. The ending was a bit unsatisfying.

Fantastic narration.
Christopher Roden
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile"
3.5 - 4 stars

While not a Doyle Sherlock Holmes mystery, this one was pretty good. Great for a car trip. This account by Watson was intellectual, detailed and caring. If you ever saw the movie "Young Sherlock Holmes", Watson's voice in this one is similar to that in the movie. I appreciated the details and how much the partners in solving crimes cared about each other as friends.
Jason Pettus
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
(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
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
As both a Sherlock Holmes pastiche and a fictionalization of the Ripper murders, this novel is completely on point. The writing and character portrayal is delicious, the language use is perfection. Holmes is a bit warmer than his original self, but not so much it's jarring. Just enough to make him a tad more relatable and not quite so tedious. ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Lyndsay Faye braves the legendary waters of both Ripper and Holmes with her imaginative novel, Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson. Let me say right up front that I’m not an aficionado of either genre. However, I enjoy a good historical fiction mystery / thriller. So I was all in for this audiobook!

Told in the classic Arthur Conan Doyle style, Faye writes from Watson’s point of view. Sherlock Holmes has been called in as consulting detective on the gruesome W
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The day after I started reading Dust and Shadow, I came across Lyndsay Faye's open letter to The President Who Shall Not Be Named, which made me bawl like a baby (in a hopeful way). So yes, I'm officially a fan for life. I've added every book in her back catalog to my TBR. It's happening. Anyway, topical feels-y blog posts aside, this is a great book on its own merits and was just the kind of cozy read I needed to make me feel better about life. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson investigate the no ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sherlock meets Jack the Ripper. Sherlock and Dr. Watson must stop these horrible killings before the press or Jack himself frames Sherlock for his gruesome crimes. As usual Sherlock investigates, goes undercover and is always steps ahead of everyone involved. This would make a great addition to the Robert Downey/Sherlock movie series.

Wonderfully narrated by Simon Vance, as always he added depth and fluidity to the story. I am always amazed by how many books and different genre's he has done so
I would not be lying if I say that this is the best Sherlock Holmes novel I've ever read, and that's including the actual Sherlock Holmes novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have some thoughts about why this is, none moreso than ACD never seemed to love his characters as much as other people did, and the popularity and lovabilty of the character has maintained, even grown in some circles, in the one hundred years since he first appeared in the pages of Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887.

Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
3.5 stars

Love the premise of this one.
Take the most notorious serial killer of that time with the most infamous detective of all time, what an interesting pairing.
Also, I loved that there is a solution to the mystery.
Perhaps its because I just read the Alienist, but I like that you get to learn about the killers back story. Having said that, I believe the Alienist gave us a much better picture into WHY he did it, and HOW a person can be shaped to become a killer. (hence the 3.5 stars).

Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Wow. Four and a half stars. Lindsay Faye writes an excellent Sherlock Holmes. I've had this on the TBR shelf for quite a while, but the “Jack the Ripper” thing kept putting me off. It needn't have. Not that the Ripper's work isn't gruesome, but Faye keeps her descriptions tolerably brief, as Doyle would have done, and the story and excellently drawn characters are utterly engaging. Unlike Laurie King, whose The Beekeeper's Apprentice made Watson out to be a bumbling if fond idiot, Faye's Watson ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I always swore that I would never read books of famous fictional characters that were written by other than the originating author.....but then I read the Laurie King Holmes books and was satisfied. So I picked up this novel by Faye and was again satisfied with how the author dealt with trying to follow-up on a classic character.
She has captured perfectly the language of Victorian England and the manner in which Holmes and Watson spoke to each other as so beautifully written by Conan Doyle. This
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Readers of this book will undoubtedly be familiar with the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle over a century ago. Faye revives those memories, opening with the wrap-up of a jewel theft case which has baffled the authorities. A nocturnal excursion to catch the perpetrator red-handed, the unique partnership of Holmes and Watson, and a bewildered Inspector Gregson stoke the reader's hunger for more of the fictional detective's cases.

Chapter 2 is our entry point to the infamous Whitechapel mur
Riju Ganguly
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 always tr ...more
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“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.”
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