book is a first Novel by Ms. Revels. She has previously confined her
Sherlockian efforts to a series of parodies, many in the form of radio
scripts, which were recently published as Sherlock Holmes: Mostly
Parodies. She has a patently wicked sense of humor and is a great
favorite among the readers of "The Gaslight Gazette."
This novel begins with Dr. Watson unexpectedly
walking in on Holmes while he is being solicited for help by Titania,
the queen of The Sidhe. The fact that Titania is beautiful, nude and
fully winged adds to Watson's surprise. From that point on, the book
varies sharply for the commonplace world of Victorian London. It is
full of lively, entertaining, fearsome and frantic characters. In fact,
the 'feeling' of the book is very much that of The Sign of Four.
Odd persons wander in and out of the tale, mysteries abound but Holmes
always seems to know what he is doing.
There are at least four characters drawn
directly from traditional accounts who dominate the action of the book.
Each has individuality and oddities of nature and each was pivotal in
their own time and place. Further, the fantastic nature of the events
and subject matter do not really penetrate the reader's sense of time
and place for some while. These odd events are happening in the familiar
London of the Canon; foggy streets, seedy theatres, steel rimmed carriage
wheels and all. Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson are preempted by The
Government and Holmes and Watson are summoned to Windsor castle by a
faithful retainer to receive their orders.
It is only in the late chapters that
the oddities at last become overwhelming. Until the final scenes begin
to unfold, we could be in the midst of any Canonical adventure except
for the occasional oddity along the way. The ending is both technically
satisfying and emotionally unsettling. The magical inconsistencies now
become wildly apparent and Holmes has become an object of some wonder
and fear. Watson, however, remains Watson, British to the core, as he
quietly completes his obligations and his narrative.
This is a comforting and disquieting
book all at the same time. The sense of '1895' is so strong that it
overwhelms the strangeness introduced by the preternatural elements
for most of the narrative. Holmes and Watson work together with the
familiar combination of trust and knowledge that fill the Canon but
are finally separated by their own natures and circumstances. It is
odd and familiar, comfortable and unsettling. It is just, as I suppose,
as the author planned it to be.
Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, June 2011
(Thanks, Phil, for allowing us to reprint your review of Shadowfall)