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.
But also, I feel it’s important to say that novels weren’t really ACD’s strength. The only one that really holds up is The Hound of the Baskervilles. Short stories are really the way to go with the Holmes canon.
I knew Lyndsay Faye could do short stories because I read The Whole Art of Detection a couple years ago, and now I know she can sustain that awesomeness over the length of a novel. I’m not surprised, I knew she could write.
Anyway I’m rambling. This book was really good. It does justice to Holmes and Watson, Jack the Ripper, and being an exciting mystery novel all on its own, and even manages to provide some character development for Holmes, which can be tough because he’s such a stubborn character, and he’s so iconic.
Subtracting a star because I feel like it’s impossible to live up to the image of Jack the Ripper in popular culture, and half the allure of his “legend” is that no one knew who he was, and providing an answer is always a little bit dissatisfying because of that.