On March 24th, I was lucky enough to moderate an event with the one and only Lyndsay Faye at Astoria Bookshop! I’ve been a huge fan of Lyndsay’s work since I first read JANE STEELE last year, and I was totally thrilled to take part in Lyndsay’s tour for both her brand-new hardcover, THE WHOLE ART OF DETECTION: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, and the paperback release of JANE STEELE.
I recently read (and loved) Lyndsay's THE WHOLE ART OF DETECTION. This short story collection includes both previously-published and brand-new Sherlock Holmes short stories, and truly has all the wit and intrigue that you would expect from Holmes, whether you're an avid reader of the original Conan Doyle works, or a fan of the many Holmes TV and movie adaptations. Lyndsay's love for and knowledge of Sherlock Holmes completely shines through in this short story collection, infusing it with an authenticity and spirit that I couldn't get enough of. I'm (admittedly) not usually one to read short stories, but this book quickly found itself a home on my nightstand, and I found that the short story format actually made it even more accessible and engaging.
Meeting Lyndsay completely enhanced my appreciation of her writing. Lyndsay is just plain cool. She’s just as thoughtful, genuine, and intelligent in person as I’d imagined her to be from reading her books! (Not to mention, she has a killer sense of style—which is neither here nor there for a book event, but just another thing that I personally love about her! And I say “killer” literally: her scarf at the event had daggers on it.) Lyndsay is a true gem of a human being: a self-possessed, enthusiastic, generous person. I was thrilled to get to spend some time with her, and learn more about her books!
The event itself couldn’t have been more fun. Our conversation was so interesting, I honestly forgot I was up in front of a group of people—I was just soaking up the insight Lyndsay provided into her books. While I wasn’t able to write down all the fantastic sound bytes from Lyndsay’s responses, Astoria Bookshop did an excellent job capturing the insightful and hilarious responses she provided on their Twitter! You can see screenshots of those responses below:
My personal favorite bit of insight that Lyndsay provided came in response to a question I asked about whether or not she felt the need to adapt any aspects of the original Sherlock stories for a modern reader. Lyndsay eloquently and in a very heartfelt way explained that the Sherlock stories are truly timeless—she really didn’t need to make adaptations for a modern reader. As you can see above in Astoria Bookshop’s tweets, Lyndsay explained that the core themes of the Sherlock stories - loyalty and love - never become outdated. I thought this was a particularly poignant moment in our event, not to mention an insightful one! She is, of course, completely right, and I think it speaks to her connection with the Sherlock stories that she identified this and was able to translate it authentically into a brand-new collection of Sherlock stories.
I was also particularly interested to learn that Lyndsay doesn’t have formal training as a writer. (I was shocked by that! Read any one of her books and you will be, too.) I asked Lyndsay what she thinks gives her the ability to authentically capture these different time periods or the voices of characters we all know so well (for example, Sherlock Holmes!). Come to find out, Lyndsay was trained as an actor, and feels that background taught her how to inhabit another character, or mimic a particular voice. This is completely true in her work, and is actually my favorite thing about reading her books. She draws you back into a different time period, a different world, in a truly authentic way.
I could go on and on about how great it was to meet Lyndsay and learn more about her work. She’s such a talented writer, and it was an absolute pleasure to join her for this event!
A huge thank you to Lyndsay for so graciously answering my questions and allowing me to join her on tour for THE WHOLE ART OF DETECTION and JANE STEELE paperback, and to Smriti for facilitating this whole event!