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The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

by Lyndsay Faye

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I have never especially been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, but I like Lyndsay Faye’s writing enough to want to read whatever she produces.

The author has apparently been writing these tales for a while about the characters of Sherlock Holmes and his collaborator and biographer John Watson, and they are collected in this volume along with two new stories. They illustrate a point Holmes makes to Watson when discussing a case:

“There are precious few crimes in this world, merely a hundred million variations upon a dozen or so themes.”

Most of the stories are told from the point of view of Dr. Watson, although a few appear as excerpts from Sherlock Holmes’ diary.

Throughout the book we get a growing sense of the skill of Sherlock Holmes and his amazing powers of observation and deduction. We also get increasing evidence of the the devotion each man has for the other. In fact, I thought the continuing unfolding of their relationship makes a better story than the recounting of crimes and how they got solved. I also enjoyed the difference between the ways in which Watson and Holmes thought about women. Watson tends to wax rhapsodic about them, while Holmes avers:

“I would as soon permanently tether myself to a wardrobe as a female…”

Faye is very adept at conjuring up the atmosphere and syntax of the times, and her turns of phrase are often breathtakingly adept, such as with this musing by Dr. Watson:

“The sea of melancholy in which I was floating had soaked me to the bone.”

Evaluation: This volume is bound to please fans of Sherlock Holmes. Lyndsay Faye is an excellent writer. ( )
  nbmars | Mar 15, 2017 |
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, or my review itself.

Faye has crafted a collection of short stories centered around Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. These stories cover the early years of Holmes' career, through his supposed death and return, all the way through to years after he has resumed his life in London.

I loved everything! The mysteries are fantastic and varied, and read just like the original canon stories do. Faye truly has a gift for capturing Doyle's spirit and voice within her takes on the tales.

I especially loved the more personal glimpses we get into Holmes' and Watson's hearts and heads. Holmes' return from the dead, and its emotional effects, is really examined here, in a beautiful way that is true to the original characters.

I absolutely loved this collection. I want to run out and own it right now so I can put it on my Sherlock Holmes' shelves. There was nothing I didn't like.

I highly recommend this book for any and all Holmes' fans. ( )
  seasonsoflove | Mar 12, 2017 |
Like many other devotees, I'm a lifelong Sherlock junkie. In the literally hundreds of pastiches I've consumed, too many have left me either with indigestion or feeling mostly unnourished. But Lyndsay Faye writes beautifully. Sherlock and Watson are in line with how ACD portrayed them - only more so. Faye fleshes out these characters so they become fully three dimensional - all while maintaining their original essence. The stories are (for the most part) intriguing and intelligent (hey, even ACD had a few that weren't "great") and the detecting finely done. My only complaint? I wish she'd write more Sherlock stuff and quicker! ( )
  RobertPater | Mar 6, 2017 |
I doubt there will ever be an end to the demand for new Sherlock Holmes stories. After all, Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill off Sherlock, yet public outcry brought him back despite The Great Hiatus–itself a source for new stories. There’s probably a Holmes-inspired collection released every month of the year. Only a few are successful. One of the most successful I have read recently is Lyndsay Faye’s fifteen new Holmes stories in The Whole Art of Detection.

Some might think it is easier to write a story with already developed characters and settings, but that is not true. There is the Sherlockian canon to deal with and the need to keep the characters in character, so to speak. Many make caricatures, their Holmes so frequently explaining his elementary deductions of every minor thing that he scarcely has time to detect. Some reject the canon and place Holmes in the present, the future. Holmes gets married, becomes a woman, has a gay relationship with Watson and jets off to Mars. It’s all very inventive, but it’s not Holmes. Faye, though, delivers.

The Whole Art of Detection is an outstanding collection of Holmes short stories. We have the real Holmes at different stages in his career. The book is in four sections: Before Baker Street, The Early Years, The Return, and The Later Years. The stories are dated, so you can see where the fall within the canon. One story is even told in within the time frame of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes seeing Watson off with Lord Baskerville, clearing up a small mystery while preparing to go to the Hound, so to speak. Most of the narratives are Watson’s stories for The Strand or for future reference, though a few are dashed off by Holmes himself, notes for his diary written when Watson was away for one reason or another.

The stories are varied. Some of the mysteries are relatively minor in importance, though never to the people involved, while others involve murder and espionage. It is interesting to see stories from different times in the Holmes-Watson relationship and how that relationship evolved. Watson in the later years is far more acerbic, taking, as he says, “diminishing pleasure in asking questions that will go unanswered.” The book is full of clever quips and Holmes is ever ready with a dose of fond condescension.

The writing is excellent and it is enjoyable to note the contrast between Holmes more matter of fact prose and Watson’s more floridly descriptive writing. Even if there were no chapter titles to inform you of the author, it would quickly be obvious. In all, it’s quite a feat, fifteen stories that are original and new, yet sound as though they came right out of the canon. Plus, there is a bonus, an introduction to the inspiration for Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. If you love Sherlock Holmes and enjoy new cases from new authors, you can’t go wrong with The Whole Art of Detection.

The Whole Art of Detection will be released March 5, 2017. I received an advance e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.

★★★★
http://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/the-whole-art-of-detection... ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Feb 8, 2017 |
it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery, murder-investigation, sherlock
Read from September 21 to October 19, 2016

Even the Russian judge would give this a 10! The author seems to be possessed by the very essence of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, the tone, style, imagination. Bringing forth a whole new collection of tales covering a greater period of the lives of Holmes and Watson including things like the case that Watson was involved in while in San Francisco. Not going to detail the whole book, of course, but this book will grab you by the mind and not let go, then drag you back again and again.
Profuse thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to request and receive this marvelous book from the publisher! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Oct 19, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802125921, Hardcover)

Internationally bestselling author Lyndsay Faye was introduced to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries when she was ten years old and her dad suggested she read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Adventure of the Speckled Band.” She immediately became enamored with tales of Holmes and his esteemed biographer Dr. John Watson, and later, began spinning these quintessential characters into her own works of fiction—from her acclaimed debut novel, Dust and Shadow, which pitted the famous detective against Jack the Ripper, to a series of short stories for the Strand Magazine, whose predecessor published the very first Sherlock Holmes short story in 1891.

Faye’s best Holmes tales, including two new works, are brought together in The Whole Art of Detection, a stunning collection that spans Holmes’s career, from self-taught young upstart to publicly lauded detective, both before and after his faked death over a Swiss waterfall in 1894. In “The Lowther Park Mystery,” the unsociable Holmes is forced to attend a garden party at the request of his politician brother and improvises a bit of theater to foil a conspiracy against the government. “The Adventure of the Thames Tunnel” brings Holmes’s attention to the baffling murder of a jewel thief in the middle of an underground railway passage. With Holmes and Watson encountering all manner of ungrateful relatives, phony psychologists, wronged wives, plaid-garbed villains, and even a peculiar species of deadly red leech, The Whole Art of Detection is a must-read for Sherlockians and any fan of historical crime fiction with a modern sensibility.

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 27 Aug 2016 17:34:12 -0400)

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