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Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson
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Historical Group Reads > Sept/Oct 2012 Group Read: Dust and Shadow

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Carol | 152 comments I am so excited to read this with our group. More information will follow tomorrow.


Carol | 152 comments In doing some background reading to lead this discussion, I had to look up a word I had seen but needed to relearn. "Pastiche" as in “Impressive…Sherlockians will hope to see further pastiches of this quality from Faye.” (Publishers Weekly). My dictionary defined this word as "a work of art, literature, film, music or architecture that openly imitates the work of a previous artist, sometimes with the intent of satire". I don't think satire applies in this case, but this story is clearly meant to imitate the style of Conan Doyle.
In fact the Conan Doyle Estate called this book “an exciting and grimly vivid tale that confronts the murderous Jack the Ripper with A. Conan Doyle’s immortal detective better than ever before.” This certainly raises my expectations!
Our group read The House of Silk last winter, which was another Holmes/Watson novel blessed by the Conan Doyle Estate and lauded by many reviewers. I noticed that many reviewers' enjoyment of these books seemed to hinge upon whether they were traditionalists or more contemporary in how they judged these stories.
For example the PBS series Sherlock places the characters in a modern setting. A pastiche should, I think, be attempting to remain true to the Conan Doyle style. Let's see what we think about this.
Dealing with Jack the Ripper brings in another aspect to the story. How does Ms. Faye treat the historical aspect of the Jack the Ripper killings?
Lydsay Faye is a Goodreads author, so I sent her a message letting her know that our group was reading Dust and Shadow. She is an actress and author, so I don't know how often she checks in on Goodreads, but perhaps she will check in on this thread. Here's hoping!
I'm stripping wallpaper and painting, so I will be listening to this book. The audiobook is narrated by Simon Vance who is a wonderful narrator. I've listened to the first 2 chapters and he's excellent.
Happy reading everyone!


message 3: by Bill, Co-Moderator (new)

Bill | 5421 comments Mod
Do you find yourself listening to books more than reading? I have listened in as my wife listens to some dramatizations of novels on one of our BBC sites. It can make it interesting.


Carol | 152 comments I do enjoy listening, and I find myself listening more often to British, Scottish, Irish or Italian accents for some reason. This month I'm reading both books our group is discussing so I'm reading The Camel Clubin book form from the library and listening to this one.
I'm a knitter so I love to knit and read. I feel like I'm accomplishing so much! My husband and I listen to audiobooks on car trips.
I'd say I'm probably 60% ebooks and 40% audiobooks.


message 5: by Chris (last edited Sep 16, 2012 10:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments I have been reading this for a little while now and I am so excited to talk about it with our group. I like to think of myself as more traditional when it comes to Holmes and Watson, and so far Ms. Faye is doing an incredible job capturing the feel and writing style of Conan Doyle. I was the one who led the discussion for The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Noveland I still felt that was very true to the original characters just as this has. I must be honest and admit that this book has had a few slow spots but for the most part it is a very engaging read that I wish I had more time for.

She also adds footnotes when there is something in the text she feels needs further explanation and I really enjoy the historical facts and tidbits she throws in. I hope you and everyone else reading it will enjoy this as much as I have so far. I look forward to further discussion.


Jeanie (Birdyseeds) | 382 comments Bill wrote: "Do you find yourself listening to books more than reading? I have listened in as my wife listens to some dramatizations of novels on one of our BBC sites. It can make it interesting."

I now listen to more books than actually reading them. I listened to
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel. Derek Jacobi was superb. I, also, knit while I listen. I started teaching myself last week. I've been crocheting since I was six, but I've always wanted to learn how to knit. It's hard! (laughing) I'm hoping to find an audio of Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson in the library this week!


message 7: by Sandi (last edited Sep 18, 2012 09:59AM) (new) - added it

Sandi | 451 comments Jeanie wrote: "Bill wrote: "Do you find yourself listening to books more than reading? I have listened in as my wife listens to some dramatizations of novels on one of our BBC sites. It can make it interesting."
..."





Listening to books while on a long, boring drive is a life saver. I know this next comment will probably blow up the system, but we are listening to "Decision Points" being read by the author, President George W. Bush. We are Bush fans (both of them) and this is like old times. No surprise, we are definitely voting for Romney!


message 8: by Jeanie (last edited Sep 18, 2012 12:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeanie (Birdyseeds) | 382 comments I'm presently listening to "Dust & Shadow" and I must say that I'm very impressed, thusfar, with Simon Vance's narration. I thought, at first, it was Jeff Woodman's work...Vance's voice reminds me very much of Woodman's interpretation of Diana Gabaldon's "Lord John Grey" series. Both of their voices are soft, mellow, sweet and versatile. (smile) I'm at the beginning of the book, so more later!


Carol | 152 comments Sandi wrote: "Jeanie wrote: "Bill wrote: "Do you find yourself listening to books more than reading? I have listened in as my wife listens to some dramatizations of novels on one of our BBC sites. It can make it..."

I enjoyed Decision Points as well!


message 10: by Carol (last edited Sep 18, 2012 12:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol | 152 comments I received a nice reply from Lyndsay Faye, the author of Dust and Shadow. My question concerned if she had gotten any negative feedback from "traditionalist" Sherlockians.

from: 2652714 Lyndsay Faye
to: 3546984 Carol Kumpf

subject: re: Mystery Crime and Thriller Group will be reading your book

message: Thanks so much for picking my book! Interesting question. Well, since I made every effort to tell the tale in an exact Watsonian manner, no, I've received pretty much zero negative feedback from Sherlockians. I was extremely lucky. And I'm a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, so all those fellow traditionalists are friends of mine. (We all likewise rather adore the BBC series.)

If you folks have any questions regarding the book, please don't hesitate to ask!

Cheers,
Lyndsay

That's great of her to offer to answer any questions we have!
I'm about 6 Chapters into the book, and I think she has done a great job with the characters of Holmes, Watson, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson. The dialogue seems very Conan Doyle as well, in my opinion.
Are there any Ripper experts in this group? Are the murders following the real-life murders? Very gory murders!


message 11: by Chris (last edited Sep 18, 2012 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments Carol wrote: "I received a nice reply from Lyndsay Faye, the author of Dust and Shadow. My question concerned if she had gotten any negative feedback from "traditionalist" Sherlockians.

from: 2652714 Lyndsa..."


I agree with you; Ms. Faye has done an amazing job with the writing style and feel of this book. I am a bit of a traditionalist and I can say I have no complaints at all so far and I am 75% into it now.

I am in no way an expert on the Ripper killings, but I read quite a bit about them in my college days when I was a Criminal Justice major. She seems to hold very true to the events so clearly she has done her research. She portrays them a little less graphic as they seem to have been but I can understand that.


Carol | 152 comments Less graphic? Yikes! I do read lots of mysteries and thrillers, but what Jack did to those women is just heinous!
Thanks for the input, Chris!


Jeanie (Birdyseeds) | 382 comments I had to finish this book last night before I could let myself sleep...it's just that good and gets five stars from me and a place of honor on my "best I read in 2012" shelf. (grin) Just as in The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel, I felt the author stayed very true to Conan Doyle's concepts and style, and I was, once again, overjoyed to feel as if I'd visited with an old friend. The only glaring difference is that these versions can be more forthcoming about the seedier side of crime, and since I inhale "bloody murder" books by the cartload, that difference is just fine with me. An excellent choice, Carol, and thanks for recommending it.


Carol | 152 comments I've just finished the book, and I thought it was an excellent homage to the style of Conan Doyle and the characters we've come to love. Jeanie, I like your comment about a visit with "an old friend". Well said!

I became more curious about the Ripper murders and I found Wikipedia to have very thorough and well footnoted information about him. Warning: There's a very graphic police photograph of one of the victims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_the...
This led me to appreciate how closely Ms. Faye followed the history of Jack the Ripper. Mr. Lusk, the vigilante group, and some of the letters are entwined into the story.
The real Jack the Ripper was never found. What did you think of our book's dealing with the identity of Jack and the ending of the story? Satisfying? Believable?
I'd love to hear what you think!


Jeanie (Birdyseeds) | 382 comments I think it made a great deal of sense. The killer almost had to be someone they'd typically trust.


Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments There is a great site all about all the different suspects, murders, and letters around the Ripper murders. It is very well done and I would recommend checking it out. It is casebook.org.

Per your question about the ending (view spoiler)

I loved this book a it became an instant favorite.


Suzanne | 64 comments Carol, thanks for the wikipedia link. And Chris, thank you for mentioning casebook.org. I was impressed how closely the book followed the known facts of the case. I thought the way the story ended was quite believable, and I liked the (view spoiler)


Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments Suzanne wrote: "Carol, thanks for the wikipedia link. And Chris, thank you for mentioning casebook.org. I was impressed how closely the book followed the known facts of the case. I thought the way the story en..."

I agree, the ending was very well done and that is saying something. Taking on a project on that has so much historical fact, and yet making it a fictional story is not an easy task and Ms Faye could have really botched this book. She didn't and I still think this is one of my favorites.


message 19: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John (jkbrown2) | 389 comments I'm about halfway through the book and enjoying it. It seems to be following the actual circumstances of the case very closely and the author has done an excellent job of capturing the characters and the feel of Doyle's writing. I am looking forward to seeing who is identified as the killer.


message 20: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Pichette | 21 comments I just finished reading the book and I really enjoyed it. I have read other stories about Jack the Ripper and I found this one to be the best one.


message 21: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 39 comments Looks like they are making Dust and Shadow into a play/musical http://www.actorsequity.org/castingca...
It came up in a twitter notice. I don't know. I can't see this book as a musical.


message 22: by Russ (new) - rated it 4 stars

Russ Skinner (russ_skinner) | 7 comments Bill wrote: "Do you find yourself listening to books more than reading? I have listened in as my wife listens to some dramatizations of novels on one of our BBC sites. It can make it interesting."

I have found that it is dependent upon the genre. If it's a serious book, I want to have it in front of me; if it's lighter, audio is fine. (And then there are the ones when I go for both formats; I find that I pick up different things depending upon the format.)

I just joined this group, have read "The Camel Club" already so downloaded Dust and Shadow" for my e-reader; I think I will use it for this month's Audible credit.


Carol | 152 comments G wrote: "Looks like they are making Dust and Shadow into a play/musical http://www.actorsequity.org/castingca...
It came up in a twitter notice. I don't know. ..."


Wow! Well the author is also an actress, so this could make sense. If you think about Les Miz, that may have seemed difficult to make into a musical. I can't imagine Holmes or Watson breaking into song, though. Maybe I lack imagination!


Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments G wrote: "Looks like they are making Dust and Shadow into a play/musical http://www.actorsequity.org/castingca...
It came up in a twitter notice. I don't know. ..."


I had heard about this and I am not sure how good this could be as a musical. They did Sweeney Todd, so this could be good. Who knows, I am curious.


message 25: by Sandi (new) - added it

Sandi | 451 comments Holmes plays the violin. Maybe it's a concert!


Carol | 152 comments Sandi wrote: "Holmes plays the violin. Maybe it's a concert!"

Good point, Sandi! ;-)


Jeanie (Birdyseeds) | 382 comments Chris wrote: "G wrote: "Looks like they are making Dust and Shadow into a play/musical http://www.actorsequity.org/castingca...
It came up in a twitter notice. I don..."


Sounds fairly awesome!


message 28: by Krystiana (new) - added it

Krystiana Stacy Kelly (krystianastacykelly) | 17 comments John wrote: "I'm about halfway through the book and enjoying it. It seems to be following the actual circumstances of the case very closely and the author has done an excellent job of capturing the characters a..."

I agree - I had my reservations but she does have that feel of Sherlock Holmes.


message 29: by Krystiana (new) - added it

Krystiana Stacy Kelly (krystianastacykelly) | 17 comments Jeanie wrote: "Chris wrote: "G wrote: "Looks like they are making Dust and Shadow into a play/musical http://www.actorsequity.org/castingca...
It came up in a twitter ..."


It does sound cool!!


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