Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel

Megan Wiseman, ISBN 9781734464115, November 2020

This is a really interesting Sherlock Holmes story, obviously not canon, but very well done.

It's nearly a year after Dr. John Watson married Mary Morstan, and moved out of the 221B Baker Street flat to his own home and his own medical practice. Holmes has found he really misses Watson, both his company, and his contributions to his investigations--because Watson has been even more absent than might be expected due to marriage and professional obligations, especially these last few months.

And something strange and disturbing is happening; what will become known as the Jack the Ripper killings have started. Watson, on one of his rare visits, has urged Holmes not to become involved, because it's such a disturbing case. But Lestrade also makes a visit to 221B Baker Street, and asks Holmes for his help on this case the police have not so far made any progress on, and Holmes says yes.

Very quickly he finds truly disturbing facts--personally disturbing, not just the disturbing nature of the killings. 

This story is different from most Holmes stories, because in this case the villian is Jack the Ripper, and Dr. Watson is a very good fit for one profile of the Ripper. Holmes is acting as his own chronicler this time.

Holmes is appalled he's suspecting his friend at all. He's keeping secrets from Watson--and Watson is clearly keeping secrets from him. Watson, in his turn, is hurt and offended when he realizes Holmes perhaps suspects him of being the Ripper. His real secret, which he is also keeping from his wife, is heartbreaking and terrible, and inextricable from the case. This is really an interesting look at Holmes, Watson, and the complexities of their relationship.

It's worth noting that Wiseman has stuck as close as possible to the historical record, regarding the killings, the victims, and police and witnesses involved in the case. Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, and others are woven in to the real investigation--or the real investigation woven into the fictional one--in a fairly seamless way.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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