The Crack in the Lens
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Quotes from Reviewers

"It truly is a story about Holmes's character being forged through fire, so to speak. The kind of character Sherlock Holmes is is not created easily or pleasantly. And this book deals with those issues with absolute excellence. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes, and anyone interested in quality literature. I, for one, can't wait for the trilogy sequel." Thoughts From Baker Street [Read full review]

"In The Crack in the Lens, Ms. Cypser, long-time Sherlockian and current president of the Denver scion society, Dr. Watson's Neglected Patients, has written a book which should appeal to both newbies and seasoned fans." The Well-Read Sherlockian [Read full review]

"A must read for the diehard Holmes fan or anyone interested in one take on Holmes' beginnings." [A review of the first printing from 2010; See Errata for corrections since then] Big Al's Books & Pals [Read full review]

"If this were merely a story of first love, it would be (and is) quite charming. But this is Sherlock Holmes we're talking about, so we know the lovers' course will not be a smooth one....A thrilling battle of wits and wills ensues, replete with angry fathers, a stormy night on the moors, the threat of madness, and the beginnings of drug addiction. Possible origins of several facets of the Sherlock Holmes ouevre are introduced, making the story ever more fascinating. Highly recommended for fans of Sherlock Holmes (of course), but also for those who enjoy the Brontes and historical fiction set in the 19th century. A great read." JoLynn's Reviews on [Read full review]

"When I was recommended this book I was at first somewhat sceptical. A story without Dr Watson and instead focuses on Sherlock Holmes before he became the Great Detective? Impossible I said to myself, but despite my initial doubts I bought the book, and settled down over the next few days and began to read it. And oh my I could not put it down! I even stayed up overnight and savoured each chapter! I was hooked." My Tin Dispatch Box [Read full review]

"This first novel is thoroughly grounded in a knowledge and appreciation of the Canon. This is Holmes before he becomes the consulting detective, living at his father's home, Mycroft, on the Yorkshire moors. His deductive powers are not quite as polished as they will become; we view the formation of a powerful detective . The plot involves Holmes in a secret romance with the daughter of a tenant farmer and a fierce battle with a younger Professor James Moriarty who schemes to push Holmes the meddler out of favor with his father." Steven Rothman, Editor, The Baker Street Journal

"In The Crack in the Lens, the dramatic irony of all we know about the Great Detective could hang heavy, but Cypser blends old and new plot elements with a light, enjoyable touch.... Sherlock's romance with Violet is the most original element of the novel, and given its seeming improbability to most students of Sherlock Holmes' character, Cypser offers it up rather seamlessly and convincingly, creating both a watershed moment and a dark secret that explains much of what drives the adult detective." Fictional 100's Posterous [Read full review]

"Darlene Cypser's novel The Crack in the Lens offers a compelling new theory, and a fresh perspective on the Great Detective's early years, with careful consideration to what readers already know.... Cypser's teenage Sherlock is a man perched on the cusp of greatness, and her vision of how the Great Detective was ultimately fashioned is both devastating and captivating." Better Holmes & Gardens Blog [Read full review]

"Darlene Cypser paints a rich landscape for her Holmesian prequel. Well researched and thought out, it gives a possible beginning to Sherlock Holmes' story. It gives a look at the young man before he became the calculating machine described by Watson and how his interest in solving the unsolvable originated. It's a quick read with plenty of suspense." Book Eater Blog [Read full review]

"Darlene Cypser's The Crack in the Lens is a well-written story of Sherlock Holmes' early life in Yorkshire.... There's romance and adventure, nice local flavor, and a good look at what set young Sherlock on the path to becoming what he is in the Canonical tales." Peter Blau, Editor of Scuttlebits & Bytes

"The Crack in the Lens ... tells an engrossing story of the boy Holmes and at the same time explores the reasons why the man Holmes turned out as he did -- a brilliant, unconventional, and apparently emotionless righter of wrongs. In this account Mycroft, Sherrinford and Sherlock are the sons of Squire Siger Holmes of Mycroft Manor in Yorkshire, where Sherlock is educated by a private tutor, Professor James Moriarty. These inventions of William Baring-Gould have become far more influential in America than they should be, but they make a colourful and appropriately atmospheric basis for a tale that seems to owe as much to Emily Bronte as to Arthur Conan Doyle." Roger Johnson, Editor of The District Messenger, Newsletter of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London [The District Messenger in PDF]

"The writing is clear and direct, with prose that evokes the Yorkshire Dales and the people who have lived there from time out of mind.... The wild and lovely scenery is a backdrop for a tale of madness, love and deceit with a few side trips into the normal world of family and friends.... It is a tale about forging a boy into a man, as one heats, pounds, tempers and quenches steel.... This is a book that provides explanations for some of the odd qualities we have all remarked in the Master. Those qualities could not have come easily or pleasantly." Philip K. Jones [Read full review on]

"The author has done a wonderful job of "filling in the background" of Sherlock Holmes.... The story is engrossing and the pace makes it difficult to put this one down until finished." [Read full review on]

"Now I know why Sherlock Holmes is who he is! I will be honest that I did not end up with a lot of time in which to read the book, but when I sat down to read it I could not put it down.... Your book gives a very plausible background for the future actions within Doyle's works.... Again, I loved the book! It really painted Sherlock as a person not just a calculating machine. We see how he advances from someone who longs for affection to someone who suffers from such close affections." Ben Walton, College Professor

"I really like the romance that goes on between Holmes and Violet; All in all, I enjoyed it very much.... This version of Holmes' childhood is the most believable I've read so far." Stephanie Nowicke, student

"One of the real strengths of the book is the obvious research into Victorian country aristocratic life. The details here make the book intriguing and help involve the reader. I get a strong sense of how an upbringing in this society would have contributed to the attitudes of Doyle's Holmes." Laura E. Goodin, Writer & Editor from Australia

"On the whole, I greatly enjoyed the story and the plot. Sherlock comes across as a typical man of his generation and class, with all the worries and concerns of being a third son. You have done an excellent job answering the ... question of 'I wonder how Sherlock got to be that way?'" Cathy Steffen, member of the Dallas Diogenes Club

"It is clever and fun and the best pre-detective pastiche since Mona Morstein's The Childhood of Sherlock Holmes: The Butler's Tale." Richard Sveum, MD, BSI, Medical Professor and member of 7 Sherlock Holmes scion societies

Reviews are welcome! If you are a reviewer who is interested in reviewing this book or one who already has, contact us.

©2011 Darlene A. Cypser