Reviews for The Ghost Map
thats-a-moray chapter 9 . 3/27/2013
Ah, so Sherlock didn't shoot Land. Mmm.

Well, I hate to start a review off with a criticism, but I feel I really must. The way you ended the last chapter made it seem abundantly clear that Sherlock shot Land. "May God forgive me" doesn't make any sense if Sherlock was planning to shoot himself, which was why when I started reading this chapter I initially thought that Sherlock had unintentionally missed Land during the struggle and the bullet had ricocheted off the wall, so I think it would be better if you took that line out. While I love when authors surprise me with a twist, Sherlock's actions and emotional state in the previous chapter seem to contradict the idea you introduce in this chapter, that he went in there with a plan. This is a little difficult to explain, but I think it would make more logical sense if you ended the previous chapter on a more ambiguous note where we have little to no idea who-shot-who or what caused the gun to go off.

Now onto the positive stuff. I'm REALLY glad that Land isn't dead. Not that he's not a bastard, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about Sherlock murdering someone when they're basically defenseless. It was also interesting that Land decided to grab the gun after Sherlock shot himself. I guess he's not terribly smart, is he? Or did Sherlock allow Land to shoot him? And if so, how did he know Land wouldn't aim for the head or heart?

I'm not sure why Sherlock needed to shoot himself to get Moriarty's attention. Wouldn't arresting Land mean that he already has Moriarty's attention?

Aw, I'm a little disappointed my theory didn't pan out. I guess for something this big Moriarty would have to be involved in some way. Although, I think I've said before I'm not as familiar with Sherlock as some of your readers and probably would have realized this sooner otherwise. There's a feeling of gravity that comes into the room when Sherlock says Moriarty's name that I feel is wonderfully appropriate. It sets the theme well.

More positive stuff: I liked the way you wrote Ms. Hudson. 'Clucking' is such an excellent word to describe her, like a mother hen. I liked that she was the first one to suggest to Watson that Sherlock might be playing a game with them. And I really liked the ending, with Moran coming off quite menacing.

Good work!
DjinniFires chapter 2 . 3/25/2013
Reviewing chapter 2.

I like the little introductory scene between John and Mary Watson. Their wedded bliss is always a good contrast for Sherlock's solitary life.

The beginning of the next scene is very much in character with Mrs. Watson fussing over Sherlock's health and him engrossed in his own boredom with having no case and disgruntled disappointment in London's criminal classes for not coming up with something to entertain him.

The son-of-a-lord beggar is an interesting character-but I was surprised he'd been on the street a year (and managed not to have his ring stolen). Holmes' happiness bein sparked at the thought of a murder-"Holmes didn' dare allow himself to hope quite yet"-is wonderfully in character. I was a little confused by the Oliver *not* immediately telling Holmes about the bucket being dumped and instead going directly to speculations about cholera. In this case, Oliver made the deductions first!

One typo: paragraph 12 : "Nothin interesting every seemed to happen anymore."

Also, was "serial killer" a term back in Victorian London? Jack the Ripper was one, of course, but was the term coined? My work's ITS apparently thinks it's a prurient trem and won't let me look it up!

Looking forward to the next chapter.
DjinniFires chapter 1 . 3/21/2013
Starting at chapter 1. Sherlock Holmes (all the books plus the Jeremy Brett show) are a fandom of mine (used to participate in the Hounds of the Internet ListServ).

In the opening, Watson is very much in character. The description of the row of medical men all giving lectures on the medical history of London seems in keeping with the times plus Watson's dramatic way of opening his specific topic of the cholera episodemic investigated by John Snow is in keeping with his knowledge and with his skill as a storyteller.

The old flat is well-described as well as the encounter between Holmes and Watson with the former trotting out a deduction about where Watson had just been.

The OC (how could a mystery be told without one?) of the nobleman beggar is intriguing.

Minor nits on capitalization and punctuation of dialogue and attributions:
Paragraph 15: "He" in "...He greeted" should not be capitalized.
Paragraph 28: A comma between "company" and "he" with the latter not capitalized.
Paragraph 41: A period between "through" and "he shrugged" since one can't shrug words.
Paragraph 43: Capitalized "He feigned incredulity" since, again, this is an attribution through an action that isn't a stand-in for speech.
Paragraph 46: period after "desperate."
Paragraph 50: Extraneous "the" in "Yet, this simple fact did little to arouse the any curiosity..."
Paragraph 51: A comma between "myself" and "he" and don't capitalize "he."

Great opening to a mystery.
thats-a-moray chapter 8 . 3/20/2013
Good chapter. You did a great job with the dialogue.

Heh, I suspected a doctor would be involved. I'm still betting the actual mastermind is female.

There was a lot of tension in the confrontation between Holmes and the suspect. I liked the way he gets under Holmes' skin by bringing up Wiggins. Although he dies at the end, I actually thought at first that he would contract cholera from the water. It was interesting that the water was the only thing he drank, so he must suspect that it's tainted. I wonder what this will mean for the rest of Scottland Yard.

A few criticisms:

["I would call a job murdering innocent citizens a job 'like any other'," said Holmes dryly.] I think you mean 'would not.'

[He would have to do it.] This seems more like something that would be done on the spur of the moment without any thought. The fact that Sherlock thought about whether he would or wouldn't and choose to shoot a defenseless man reflects quite badly on his character. There was ample opportunity for the gun to go off while the suspect was grabbing at the barrel, either by accident or in the heat of the moment, so I'm not sure why you chose to make it a deliberate decision on Sherlock's part, unless you want to make him an anti-hero in your story.

Good chapter! Kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.
Sierraoscar154 chapter 12 . 3/17/2013
Oh dear, things are *not* going very well here for Sherlock now, are they? I wasn't quite sure of the drug that he took/was forced to take in the last chapter, but cocaine or some sort of drug like that makes sense for that time period (and even today, just in a different circumstance); it would have probably been used for medicinal purposes at that time period, if my memory serves me correctly, and a vicious way to go then as it is now. Moran is sure a sick person, that's for sure. He's one step ahead of the police, and while Lestrade might be a good police officer, he might be out of his league despite the confidence of both Watson and Sherlock. However, a good police officer never gives up, so he's on the case despite the unknown enemy in front of him, which I found to be a very dogged and interesting take on this man, who is so easily overshadowed by Sherlock and Watson most of the time, and now he has to depend on the best the Met can give in order to find the man who did this. Again, he's outsmarted everyone at this point, so there is a very real danger here, and with Sherlock down and almost out, Watson tending to him, Lestrade engaging on the manhunt of the century...things are going downhill so fast. At least the ending can give us a little bit of hope, as Sherlock seems to be fighting through it...for now.
Sierraoscar154 chapter 11 . 3/15/2013
Oh no. It's been a *long* time since I visited this story, and what a place to jump back into. I never really figured that Sherlock would be on the short end of the stick here, but it appears that Moran has got the upper hand. Literally too, since he basically dictates how, and what Holmes is to do, and how everything is going to play out. I would think that it is most ironic that this sort of situation is happening; it is almost like how Holmes would treat someone, sans the killing (maybe not), except that he's on the receiving end of things now. Moran was certainly well fleshed out here, with his reasoning, his plan, his every move calculated out and focused on his target; Holmes. It was very surreal to watch those two interact and verbally duke it out. I think Sherlock (obviously) has something else in mind, otherwise he wouldn't be going along with that entire suicide thing...it would be way to easy, and I don't think he gives up just like that.
And of course, John and Lestrade are *so* close to him, but they might as well be lightyears away...I don't recognize Camden House, but oh well.
Really great stuff, as per the usual.
thats-a-moray chapter 7 . 3/13/2013
Ffffffffffffffffffffffu-

A London constable. You just blew my mind. I imagine it's the same one that brought Oliver to the hospital, eh? Or would that be too simple?

I never thought of studying the effects of the bacteria. That actually makes a lot of sense and explains why so many people died at once; a good experiment needs a large sample size. If the killer is experimenting, that probably means that he (or she - I haven't ruled out that possibility yet) is preparing to create a MUCH larger outbreak. But why, I wonder?

I'm also wondering if this killer actually wants to be found. With the condition the house is in, it seems likely that he or she left behind some kind of evidence. The change of clothes, for example. They might be able to get some DNA from those - dead skin cells or hair or something. For someone with an apparently high IQ, it's strange that they would keep their lair in such a way.

Great chapter!

The only thing I would change is the introductory paragraph. It was confusing to start there and then suddenly backtrack two hours.

SPaG:

["Holmes. No, thing that I've seen."] Nothing.

[Once Homes and Watson were inside the house, Watson felt a certain relief now that he was not in the rain again.] Holmes.
thats-a-moray chapter 6 . 3/13/2013
So this is the titular ghost map.

I'm glad you dedicated a whole chapter to exploring Holmes' grief and guilt over Wiggins' death. Again, as someone still new to the fandom, this went a long way in getting me to sympathize with Wiggins, Holmes, and John.

Since this is a mystery, allow me to give you my thoughts so far on the killer: I still believe he's most likely a doctor or biologist. Even if his profession is not in one of these two areas, he probably has a degree in that field or was previously employed. The killer is probably female, as women serial killers are statistically more likely to use poison than violence. That woman emptying a bucket into the sewer in chapter 1 seems like a possible subject, but while I'd love to investigate her further, I'm not hedging my bets on her yet.

I also think that the killer must have other methods of spreading the disease than merely putting it into the water system. The fact that he or she is able to target specific individuals, such as Oliver and Wiggins, suggests that he or she is able to spread the bacteria through more direct (but subtle) means. This is just what I have come up with, based on the information you've given me.

Great chapter! Looking forward to the next one.
thats-a-moray chapter 5 . 3/13/2013
Mrs. Hudson noooooo. D:

You did a wonderful job with Wiggins. Although I had no idea who he was, I felt a strong connection to him through this chapter. The way he slipped into a cockney accent as he was dying was brilliant and both humanized and characterized him at the same time. John and Holmes' reactions to his death were dramatic, but not overwrought.

The only thing I would change is that you kept saying that Holmes and Watson knew Wiggins was going to die. This really decreased the tension in the scene. As someone unfamiliar with Wiggins, it also made it impossible for me to care for him as deeply as I might have because I knew that he wouldn't be here for long. I think this chapter would be much, much stronger if made it unclear whether Wiggins would live or die.

SPaG:

[Because he knows that this is one mistake that he will never be able to repair.] Knew.
thats-a-moray chapter 4 . 3/13/2013
I'm glad you included the background information on cholera. By telling us about the disease, its history, how it's spread, and what it's capable of, you're allowing your readers to join in in solving the mystery. Watson's musings have already given me a few ideas. I'm thinking the person spreading it might be a doctor or a biologist, because they would have access to the disease.

I do have a slight criticism about Mary. She doesn't do much in this chapter except cry and cling to John, so as of now she doesn't seem like a very strong character. Since her husband is a doctor, I would think she would be a little more experienced when it comes to coping with death.

I also wasn't sure what to make of "Bring out your dead!" It immediately brought to mind Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which kind of spoiled the mood. It also seems kind of anachronistic. Naturally in a situation such as this the government would have to improvise a way of getting rid of so many bodies quickly, but I would think they could come up with something better than a guy and a cart.

Sadly, since I don't know who Wiggins is, I can't really comment on the end of this chapter. It's obvious that Watson is distressed, but since I have no connection to Wiggins as a reader I feel a bit lost. That's all on me, of course. Overall, good chapter.
Edhla chapter 14 . 2/25/2013
The biggest nitpick ever: although contractions are correct for the time period and your fourth-wall is consistent and done well, I got a bit distracted by "it's"- in this context, "it is"?

That being said, your descriptions of London recovering from the epidemic are simply beautifully done. Above and beyond our characters healing, you've also remembered to use *London* as a character, and given how important location is to this fic and to the Holmes universe, that's fantastic.

Awww and Lestrade's home life. Nicely played there, I d'awwed throughout- "Annie" just seemed so appropriate, both in name and character. And "Geoffrey", huh? That mysterious first initial, damn you ACD :D He's probably rolling in his grave. "IT'S GEORGE, OKAY." :D

And of course Lestrade has a bunch of kids. In any incarnation of the ACD universe, it seems to be the canon-that-is-not-canon. Perfectly suited to his character and position and the way he reacts to the world around him. Plus, it's adorable.

"I expect that Mary Watson was happy to be home." I expect she was as well, bless her :D True, yes, she had Mrs Hudson for company, but 221B, as per the ACD universe - not the greatest place for a lady to hang out.

"Strong arms"- I love and hate you so much :D

And the rest of the conversation they have is wonderfully disquietening, and a perfect setup for... dun-dun-DUN! A SEQUEL :D

Which makes me extremely happy, Giry :D

Something I've always appreciated about the ACD stories, and which you write so wonderfully well, is how enduring Holmes and Watson are in their own little world. Cholera epidemic? They'll recover. Gunshot wound? Bah, just a scratch. Nearly dead from cocaine overdose? Nope, Holmes will be fine, and they'll get along like they always have. It's so profound in canon because they do this for *decades*, but even in your fic you've perfected that easy sense of normality and ugh, I love it :D

I KNEW MORIARTY WOULD NOT BE PLEASED.

And alas, poor- okay, sorry, geez :D But that's one hell of a hook, and I'm now not only wondering how Moriarty is going to mess up Holmes and Watson, but how he's going to (presumably) mess up Moran as well. YIKES.

This was such a wonderful read, Giry. Thank you so much for writing it, and I hope to read the sequel sooooooon :D
thats-a-moray chapter 3 . 2/24/2013
I'm a bit confused about how much time has passed between chapter 2 and chapter 3. Unless I'm mistaken, Oliver was not this skinny the last time we saw him. Then again his baggy clothes could have been hiding his skinny frame. It's been a while since the last time I read a chapter of this story, so if I'm wrong and you mentioned his frame earlier I apologize.

You know what I love to see in fiction? Compelling background characters. Seriously, they give so much life to a story even if their screen time is brief. The constable is one of those characters. You did a great job of breathing life into him - and therefore into every character he interacted with. I loved his genuine concern for Oliver, even though they had just met. I kind of hope he'll show up again. I know he won't, but that's a sign of great writing.

I'm glad you decided to have Oliver die off-screen. Showing his death would have been too easy. You told me all I needed to know through John's reaction.

All in all, I really enjoyed this chapter. I only wish it had gone on longer.
Edhla chapter 13 . 2/23/2013
Giry, once again I'm so sorry that this isn't going to be a classical well-constructed review, because I really am too overwhelmed with how much I love this to be able to form coherent thoughts that aren't "MYFEELZ" which is not a coherent thought.

Crazy. I know. But I'll try.

Firstly, the short delay was not because I was busy or preoccupied. I started reading this fic pretty much the moment I tagged you but I knew, given on previous experience, just how long it was going to take me to process something that packs such an emotional wallop.

I was going to say that the first line couldn't be topped, but then when you elaborated it I was practically in tears by paragraph four. Then I had to go and get ice cream.

And THEN you gave me Mycroft feels, clearly because you're trying to kill me, especially with this line:

"Of course, Mr. Holmes," said Watson softly. "Your brother is my brother as well."

Aaargh. And then, not content to leave me like that, you gave us some more of Mary. I love her. She's next door to a saint. ACD was an awful person for offing her mid-hiatus like that. Married!Watson just seriously doesn't get enough mileage in the ACD universe, and that's a shame, because it really does give his character this whole other perspective- who you are around different people- and I am absolutely thrilled you've decided to show us this.

And then, Holmes is recovering. Thank GOD FOR THAT because I seriously don't think I could have taken any more of that right here. Ch 12 was nearly the death of me from feelz. "The normalcy that had been steadily returning..." I love this line. And I love that Watson is the one more (visibly, anyway) disturbed by the fact that Moran got away. And I especially love Holmes' regard for Mary, as per canon.

And I loved that this ended with laughter.

With one chapter to go I am foreseeing something pretty damn special for the end, but even if it's just "blah blah blah" 2500 times, I won't mind, Giry. Because I have enjoyed this SO much!
Edhla chapter 12 . 2/22/2013
Giry, I am just floored. I know we're all RT buds and stuff and I don't want that to take away from my praise or put it in any kind of context but this: holy crap, this is remarkable.

This is the sort of chapter that causes me that horrible conflicty feeling of just *loving it so much* and *I will never be this good in a million sickfic years*.

But hey, even if I fail to every write anything this good, it's okay, 'cause YOU have, and I have read it. :D

Touches every single squishy spot in my heart right the way through. I wish I could talk more about characterisation and narrative technique and structure and the finer points of the plot, but it's knocked me for six, I'm afraid.

"Lestrade did not require any further clarification. A seasoned officer, he was on his feet in an instant and gone from the room. He had the nose of a police dog when it came to tracking down the criminals and Watson had every faith in his ability to find the attacker." This really is the only paragraph that I side-eyed in any kind of way. Not because it tells (ACD did a helluva lot of telling, after all) but because of *where* it tells- right in the middle of extreme tension. I have no coherent ideas for how you'd go about writing it any differently, or even whether you should, but that's how it struck me.

How beautifully ironic that it was cocaine... and you really did your research there (I wonder how many people have googled "cocaine overdose" because they were trying to write a fic about it? ;) )

I found the part where Lestrade, who is generally the butt of Holmes' unpleasant mockery in ACD canon, is reduced to *praying for him*.

Once again his delirious wanderings are deliciously written and the ending was just... *feelz*. So many of them, Giry. So many. I literally feel overwhelmed by this chapter... wow.
Edhla chapter 11 . 2/22/2013
Giry, I'm a bit scared to read this chapter. I'd demand that you hold me, but since this is completely your fault, I'm thinking you may not be very sympathetic to my plight. As Aiko said, "why must you do this? Because you are mean author-lady, like me." :)

I love how you really took your time with the description of Holmes coming into the house. That you worked with phrases so we have "dark as pitch" instead of the usual "pitch-dark." I love that you remind us that Holmes is physically vulnerable.

"Irony is a funny thing." I thought it was apt that Holmes should notice the irony, but the phrasing of this (possibly the tense/POV) sort of drew me out of the story, broke the fourth wall a little.

God, Moran is a creep. I'm way jealous and I love his dialogue with Holmes. I keep thinking he's in way over his head though- of course he is. But not just because he's up against Holmes. I still maintain Moriarty is not gonna be happy with him. On that note, the conversation about the many-faces-of-ACD-Moriarty was really clever, and made me smile.

"Holmes shook his head in amazement. "Won't you extend my greetings to Sergeant Billings the next time you deliver his payment?"" Ohhh that is brilliant. It's a brilliant plot-piece, and the fact that it came out of Holmes' mouth makes it all the better.

"I shudder to think what your friend the doctor will do when he finds an unfortunate victim of suicide lying in the very house he resumed his career in."- Giry. Feels. Please. Why must you do this to my heart?

Okay, this is going to sound so incredibly lame, but at the Reichenbach Falls interlude and Holmes (who is totally not going to die of course- he'd better not seriously- but that is TOTALLY NOT THE POINT), I quite literally had to get up and make a cup of tea because I was being a bit flooded with all the... feelings. The descriptions there were excellent. Visceral. Overwhelming, even. I felt it.

Minor typo: "dragged through his skin."

And then you had Watson and Lestrade breaking a door down. Good. Lord.

That... scene that you did... with Mary... this is snowballing in the most epic way and I am seething with feels and jealous. Really. And then you have Watson and Lestrade to the two-man rescue.

Someone had better shoot someone else through a window. I'd like my cookie, please ;)
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