Once more the game is afoot, as Sherlock Holmes often says. This time it’s his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, who is on the case. It is 1888 and Jonathan Wilkins, Prime Minister William Gladstone’s personal secretary, calls on Doyle to assist in the hunt for the heinous Whitechapel murderer. Three prostitutes have been slaughtered within the past month ... Bradley Harper’s A Knife in the Fog skillfully evokes a terrorized Victorian London between August and November of 1888 when the Ripper’s bloody rampage prevailed. Conan Doyle is as fascinating and gifted a detective as his creation. The colorful cast of characters, vividly portrayed, includes cameo appearances by Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde ... But it is the premise, the plotting, the attention to period detail that make this debut novel, A Knife in the Fog, so special. Most important of all, is the deliciously irreverent solution which, believe it or not, is very 21st century.
What debut author Bradley Harper has done with A Knife in the Fog is to combine both real and fictional characters in a tale told in the style of a Holmes novel ... A Knife in the Fog is a great read and does not feel like a debut novel. Harper is a life-long Sherlock Holmes fan who also spent hours touring the Whitechapel area with local historical guides to fully immerse himself in the Ripper's territory.
In September 1888, no less a personage than Prime Minister William Gladstone writes to young doctor and author Arthur Conan Doyle with a vague entreaty to save 'many lives.' ... As in the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a leading feature is the vivid, thorough questioning of a colorful cross-section of Londoners, here including brash Cockney boy John Richardson, inept but loquacious Dr. Llewellyn, and beat policeman Sgt. Thicke, known on the street as 'Johnny Upright.' ... At length Doyle does indeed stir the interest of the serial killer who calls himself Jack the Ripper, and he and Margaret get close enough to him to rescue an intended victim ... Delightful chemistry, plummy prose, and believable period detail lift Harper’s debut above the throng of forgettable Baker Street imitators.
In 1888, Jonathan Wilkins, a representative of Prime Minister William Gladstone, calls on Arthur Conan Doyle to assist in the hunt for the Whitechapel murderer, who has already slaughtered three prostitutes, in Harper’s workmanlike debut ... Harper is faithful to the historical record of the Ripper murders, but his solution, which combines elements of several theories, disappoints. Also, the novel suffers in comparison to David Pirie’s superior The Night Calls, which likewise puts Conan Doyle and Bell on the trail of Jack the Ripper. Readers will hope Harper treads less familiar ground in any sequel.