G.L. Morrison's Reviews > Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows by James Lovegrove
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did not like it

I tried to like it. The use of racism and misogyny as a way of settling into the Victorian mindset was mindlessly grating. My partner and I were enjoying (?) this as an audiobook but had to stop the presses early on and look for reviews --none of which addressed the ugly rhetoric. I googled Cthulhu Casebooks + anti-Semitism to see others' take on it: Was this quoting Doyle (or worse Lovecraft; surely any author alive in *this* century knew to take his monsters and storylines but shake the dogsh*t of his opinions and quotations off your shoes lest the Dagon rise out of the racist sea and eat your soul) or was this a persona game of blind Watson an ugly trope to be "reformed". Basically, does it get any better? Is it worth the blemish on my brain to persevere?

To my surprise, not one review I found mentioned this. The first conversation with Holmes and Watson regarding a homeless Jewish victim found dead and supernaturally emaciated included a literal thesaurus of offensive monikers supposedly made palatable by their anachronistic tone.

I put it down to read reviews (many praise-filled, none addressing the ick I encountered so early).
"Give it 15 more minutes," I told myself.

In the time it took for the plot to emerge and before anything eldritch had happened, the author managed to malign, anachronistically slur, and stereotype whores, Irish (drunks), Welsh (gibberish language), lower classes (thieves), upper classes (hypocrites), Chinese (opium) and more I am forgetting. When the narrator (who an early reviewer had called the best part of the book) actually did his Chinese woman running the opium den in a ridiculous accent and pigeon English, I was like "oops... 15 minutes is 15 too many".

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Reading Progress

April 8, 2021 – Started Reading
April 8, 2021 – Shelved
April 8, 2021 – Finished Reading

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