A study in emerald (Fragile things group read – week 1) by

It is the immensity, I believe.
–Neil Gaiman - A study in emerald

Carl is hosting another group read. This time of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. A collection of 32 stories, so that is 4 stories over 8 weeks. Not too intense. But it is always a bit of a challenge to stop reading after only 4 stories :) and I’ve decided to post on each individual story as I go along. First up was the introduction, now we are on to the first story proper: A study in emerald.

This is a group read discussion so there will be spoilers for the stories.

A study in emerald is, as the title hints, a Gaiman take on Sherlock Holmes. Holmes does seem to becoming even more popular, there are the films, the wonderful BBC version, the great Laurie King books, Holmes is everywhere at the moment, but Gaiman has mixed his world with a Lovecraftian hue. Not that I have ever read Lovecraft, but pretty much everyone has at least heard of Cthulu and the tentacled old ones right? Whether that is from the Hellboy films or from South Park‘s re-interpretation. Cthulu is maybe not quite as well known as Holmes, but both are quite famous in their own right.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

So, not your usual Holmes story.

And even more so when you consider that by the end we come to realise that Holmes isn’t the hero of this story at all, and Watson isn’t the narrator. Instead it is told by Sebastian Moran and Professor Moriarty is the “consulting detective”, while Holmes is the traitor working against the crown. Not that I would blame him, I wouldn’t want to be ruled by the “old ones” either. The Victoria of this world is a far cry from the usual queen.

A nice start to this collection. A blend of two very different worlds to create something new. And a self-containted story. Often short stories leave a huge amount hanging, and while there is more that *could* be told and developed from this story, it works perfectly well as a stand alone.

Group read participants: Stainless Steel Droppings ; Fat books and thin women ; Always dreaming ; We be reading

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4 Responses

  1. Kailana says:

    This was a very creative retelling of Holmes, I must say. I really need to read some Lovecraft to fill in the other half of the inspiration…
    Kailana´s last blog post ..Week in Review (32) and Short Story Sunday

  2. Carl V. says:

    This one definitely works well even without a great deal of knowledge about Doyle's or Lovecraft's work, but having some exposure to them kicks the enjoyment up a notch. I do recommend trying Lovecraft at some point. He does creepy like nobody's business.

    I'd be one of the ones wanting to fight against the old gods to be sure, there is no way I'd be happy being ruled by those creepy things.
    Carl V.´s last blog post ..Fragile Things Group Read, Week 1

  1. 11 September 2011

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