Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye


Faye, L. (2009). Dust and shadow. New York: Simon & Schuster.


This is a wonderful first novel by Lyndsay Faye, a New York City writer and actress. It is one of many mimicries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories—but it is a particularly good one. Faye has done her research and does a superb job of imitating the language style of the Holmes cannon. This is a tale in which the great detective both succeeds and fails and is one which is recorded by Watson, but not “published”.

Here the great Sherlock Holmes matches wits with none other than Jack the Ripper!! This is an intriguing idea for if Holmes were real, he surely would have at least had something to say about the Ripper case which took place in 1887. It is a tale which should delight both Holmes fans and those fascinated with the Ripper case.

Many authors have written about Jack the Ripper; some like Patricia Cornwell give the history as well as their thoughts (along with evidence) of who the Ripper was. Faye has imbibed all the history and research and used it to construct a marvelous work of fiction. Think CSI or Criminal Minds, before such sciences were really invented.

This is a fun story with plenty of action and a somewhat happy ending. Unlike the actual Ripper case, the perpetrator in the novel is unmasked, but only to a few. The rest of the world is left unknowing… to them, as to us, the murders just stop.