Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson - Lyndsay Faye,  Simon Vance
I was encouraged to listen to this audiobook by the enthusiastic reviews of GR friends (thanks Tracey and Chrissie!) and by my own positive experience of listening to Simon Vance's excellent narration of a very different kind of novel, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. As I expected, Vance is excellent. His voices are appropriate for the characters, each one easily distinguishable from the others. If Vance has a weakness as a narrator, it's in his voices for young female characters. However, that comes with the territory of being a male narrator.

As for the novel, it's a well-written addition to the Sherlock Holmes literary brand, in which Holmes investigates the Jack the Ripper murders with the assistance of Dr Watson and a couple of engaging Irregulars. I have no background knowledge of the Ripper murders apart from what I gleaned from a quick scan of Wikipedia as I read, but as far as I can tell, Faye seems to have got the history right. The narrative convincingly meshes the Ripper murders with Holmes' investigative process and comes up with some clever explanations for particular aspects of the crimes and their consequences. For example, there's a great explanation for the origin of the rumour that Jack the Ripper was Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence..

In this novel, Holmes is recognisably the Holmes created by Conan Doyle, with arguably more concern for the victims of crime and a little more vulnerability. The other characters are equally well-drawn and Faye does an excellent job creating a sense of place and time. This was definitely worth the time I spent listening, and was all the more interesting because I was also reading Locked Rooms, the eighth novel in Laurie R King's contribution to the genre, the Mary Russell series. Overall, I think I prefer King's writing, which means that this novel gets a solid 3-1/2 stars.