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5.0 out of 5 stars Tracking Jack the Ripper
"Chapel Noir" and "Castle Rouge" are two halves of one very, very long novel. You can't enjoy them separately, but that's no reason not to wade in with Irene Adler and Nell Huxleigh on another Victorian sleuthing and competition with the indomitable Sherlock Holmes.

This time, Carole Nelson Douglas offers a new analysis of the Jack the Ripper murders and...
Published on 15 Oct. 2010 by R. E. Conary

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hamfisted attempt to enter the arena of Sherlockian pastiche
The idea of fleshing out Irene Adler from the short story A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA) is a good one, but Douglas's novel fails to live up to the standard set by others working in the realm of Sherlockian pastiche (Laurie R. King, Michael Chabon, Caleb Carr). This version of Irene Adler is entirely anachronistic: self-confident in a twentieth-century way, knowledgeable,...
Published on 9 Jan. 2006


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hamfisted attempt to enter the arena of Sherlockian pastiche, 9 Jan. 2006
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This review is from: Chapel Noir: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Jack the Ripper (Mass Market Paperback)
The idea of fleshing out Irene Adler from the short story A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA) is a good one, but Douglas's novel fails to live up to the standard set by others working in the realm of Sherlockian pastiche (Laurie R. King, Michael Chabon, Caleb Carr). This version of Irene Adler is entirely anachronistic: self-confident in a twentieth-century way, knowledgeable, broad-minded and with the annoying habit of making every man she meets into an instant admirer. Furthermore, the narrator (a female admirer of Adler's) is a stiff mock-Victorian caricature, an "Aunt Sally" who never expresses an opinion we "enlightened" twentieth-century readers aren't invited to laugh at. (Watson-as-narrator may have been slightly "behind the game", but Doyle did at least treat him with respect.)
The story itself is ambitious, with Holmes and Adler vying to be the first to solve the mystery of "Jack the Ripper", who appears to have crossed the Channel to carry on his hideous disembowelments in Paris. There are some glaring errors here - one plot point hinges on Joan of Arc's "feast day" in the Catholic calendar of 1888, which is impossible as she was not canonized until 1920! The plural of "mademoiselle" is given as "mademoiselles" - in French it's "mesdemoiselles". I award the book two stars rather than one because of Douglas's wide scope and obviously thorough research into Jack the Ripper, but I must warn anyone who intends to read CHAPEL NOIR to be prepared to buy CASTLE ROUGE as well; the story is spread over both books, with the former ending on a cliff-hanger.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tracking Jack the Ripper, 15 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Chapel Noir (Hardcover)
"Chapel Noir" and "Castle Rouge" are two halves of one very, very long novel. You can't enjoy them separately, but that's no reason not to wade in with Irene Adler and Nell Huxleigh on another Victorian sleuthing and competition with the indomitable Sherlock Holmes.

This time, Carole Nelson Douglas offers a new analysis of the Jack the Ripper murders and examines old and new suspects for the role of "Saucy Jack" as her inquiry agent, Irene Adler, investigates Ripper-like crimes in Paris. For help, Irene enlists the real-life Bertie, Prince of Wales, Baron de Rothschild, Buffalo Bill Cody and Bram Stoker. She delves deeply into religious cult symbolism and mystery and discovers through Richard von Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis" that the Ripper's slaughters are far from unique. As we could well tell her with such modern examples as Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy.

In addition to Penelope Huxleigh's exhaustive diaries are observations from a mysterious yellow journal and from the journal of the irritating Pink, a supposed habitué of a Paris "maison de rendezvous." These lead us on a harrowing journey through Paris, London, Prague and Transylvania to the far-fetched, but possible, conclusion of this entertainingly dark novel.

As admirable as Irene Adler is, and the perfect foil for Sherlock Holmes, for me the best character in the series has been--and remains--the very human, Nell Huxleigh. This prim and proper parson's daughter has a taste for grue and gore that she continually denies, yet she won't be left out of the adventure despite her traditional upbringing. Nell's stretching and growing personality provides the dry and wry humor that permeates the series, and in this story she has ample opportunities to see herself in new lights.

Irene Adler is "the" woman in Sherlock Holmes' life and the only one to best him as seen in the original Conan Doyle story A Scandal in Bohemia. Carole Nelson Douglas has brought her fully to life in this delightful series that started with Good Night, Mr. Holmes (Irene Adler Mysteries)
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Chapel Noir: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Jack the Ripper
Chapel Noir: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, and Jack the Ripper by Carole Nelson Douglas (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 2002)
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