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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expertly read by Benedict Cumberbatch
These four short stories are reasonably true to Conan Doyle's original Holmes, not quite as good as his best known, but good enough for a casual fan of the great detective. John Taylor's writing is in keeping with the late Victorian style, slightly verbose at times but not to the point where it will ruin the enjoyment. I was worried that with Benedict Cumberbatch reading,...
Published on 6 Jan. 2011 by B. Wright

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly read, stories not so great
Having watched Sherlock I, probably along with half the country, delved into Arthur Conan Doyle with a passion. I've loved all of his short stories and so was looking forward to hearing these four stories with anticipation. Unfortunately, although Benedict Cumberbatch reads them brilliantly, the stories are a let down.

Written by John Taylor (which isn't...
Published on 9 Mar. 2011 by B. Roche


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expertly read by Benedict Cumberbatch, 6 Jan. 2011
By 
B. Wright (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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These four short stories are reasonably true to Conan Doyle's original Holmes, not quite as good as his best known, but good enough for a casual fan of the great detective. John Taylor's writing is in keeping with the late Victorian style, slightly verbose at times but not to the point where it will ruin the enjoyment. I was worried that with Benedict Cumberbatch reading, the stories would be set in present day but thankfully this is not the case. One criticism that I had was that the cases aren't particularly complicated and I found myself reaching the solution long before the end (with the exception of the final, 'The 10.59 Assassin', which I found a little silly). They won't mystify like Conan Doyle's tales, with the stories perhaps focused more on action than mystery.

The readings by Cumberbatch are wonderful; he is eloquent and clear throughout, reading with great enthusiasm, and has a good voice for story-telling. He 'narrates' as Watson but then does all of the voices, of Holmes himself, but also the other acquaintances whose paths cross his own. I found myself captivated by his different characters, from West Country train guards to an American businessman (though the West Country accents do seem to all roll into one if you listen to the stories in close proximity!). I couldn't help but smile at his Cockney villain voice in the first story and laugh at his imitation of a female voice in the later. It is one of the best performances - and performance here, rather than reading as he very much acts the characters - I've heard on audiobook. I felt that there was also some humour written in to the stories, and Cumberbatch draws this out expertly, delivering the puns and quips with perfect pacing.

At roughly 30 minutes a story, these make a pleasant listen for short journeys. While devoted fans of Holmes may not return for repeated listens, the real joy here is the reading. Benedict Cumberbatch's performance really is excellent and I would recommend the audiobook on the strength of this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really well read, so so stories, 21 April 2011
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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I am an absolutely avid Sherlock Holmes fan and I am not a complete purist in terms of how it should be adapted, that said every story that I have read that wasn't written by Sir Author Conan Doyle has failed to impress me, I have always found the stories to be trying far too hard to be like the originals without capturing Holmes' inner essence. That said when I saw that Benedict Cumberbatch was reading this story I thought I would give it ago. I absolutely loved his interpretation of a modern day Holmes and it is with that back drop that I am reviewing this audio book, a format in which I am considered a complete novice, in fact this is my first ever reading of a novel in this format.

Benedict Cumberbatch's reading voice is absolutely fantastic, really brought it to life for me, if I were reviewing on that alone I would happily give it five stars. Unfortunately I am not. To be honest the stories that accompany this aren't great, they aren't awful, just not great. I wanted to like them more, I really did but I guess they do suffer with being a touch too short for my liking. I would suggest though that they are a great way to waste an hour or so.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly read, stories not so great, 9 Mar. 2011
By 
B. Roche "somethingisrotten" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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Having watched Sherlock I, probably along with half the country, delved into Arthur Conan Doyle with a passion. I've loved all of his short stories and so was looking forward to hearing these four stories with anticipation. Unfortunately, although Benedict Cumberbatch reads them brilliantly, the stories are a let down.

Written by John Taylor (which isn't immediately obvious from the cover), each story is a good imitation of Conan Doyle - accurate portrayal of Holmes and Watson, good sense of period etc - but the plots are very weak and the culprit is obvious within the first five minutes(apart from the 10.59 assassin, which is the best story).

So why three stars? Well, the reading is absolutely fantastic, with Cumberbatch tackling the accents of Cockney villains, west-country railwaymen, Reverends and Americans with aplomb.

Strangely, the weak plots coupled with the brilliant reading actually make this a very good audio book to put on when you're doing something else - cooking, cleaning etc - as you don't have to concentrate too hard to follow it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth is just to listen to Benedict Cumberbatch's wonderful voice., 23 July 2013
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Brett_Bloom (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
This is a five star audiobook because of the 'voice' of Benedict Cumberbatch. He speaks English the way it should be spoken: with perfect diction and a soothing tone. I would have bought it even if he were reading out his Waitrose shopping receipt! One weakness is John Taylor. Is that a pseudonym of a well-known novelist? Taylor's stories are inferior to the ones that the great Conan Doyle gave to the world. However, if you are buying this for the aural equivalent of the finest Belgian chocolate, then you are in for a treat!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming mysteries elevated by a superb reading from Cumberbatch, 16 Feb. 2011
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may not have wanted to write more Sherlock Holmes stories in his lifetime until forced to by an angry mob, but there's been no shortage of pasticheurs since his death willing to do so for him, with these four stories by John Taylor the latest, but far from the last, in a long line. The presentation certainly impresses: borrowing a leaf from Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's book, these are drawn from discarded notes in Dr John Watson's old cedar wood box that are finally dusted off for an airing. No great or shocking revelations about the Great Consulting Detective's private life here, merely some second string stories that don't live up to the master but do a decent job of capturing his style, aided immensely by Benedict Cumberbatch's superb reading. While it may immediately seem like gimmick casting, what particularly impresses is not just that Cumberbatch gives a completely different reading of Holmes to the one in his TV incarnation as Sherlock - these are, after all, period stories rather than modern-day adventures - but that in his narration as Watson you really would think you were listening to a much older actor so accomplished and natural is his performance. He's quite adept at creating the other characters with a multitude of accents as well. Indeed, it's one of those rare cases where the reader is so good he carries you over the stories' many weak points - the poor plots and obvious resolutions in particular - and emphasises their strengths - Taylor's stylish prose - making what could have been a mere opportunistic cash-in something that's actually a genuine pleasure to listen to. It won't take you long to forget the stories, but the narrator's fine performance(s) will stay with you a lot longer. Someone really should give him some genuine Conan Doyle Holmes stories to narrate before he gets sick to death of the role.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Holmes lite fails to satisfy, 25 April 2013
By 
Ray Blake (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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Conan Doyle's novels and stories about the great detective now form only a small proportion of his fictional exploits. Often, other authors have managed to capture the flavour and feel of the originals. Sometimes they have created a satisfying mystery and solution. Very rarely they have achieved both. In these stories, the writer has managed to partially mimic the originals. There is a good sense of time and place; this is recognisably Holmes's London. But these stories do not rank with those of Conan Doyle in two respects. Firstly, the mysteries are lightweight and hackneyed. Secondly, the stories - unlike the best Holmes stories - require mostly action and speed on Holmes's part rather than mental acuity.

As others have noted, the reading is excellent. Indeed it is far better than the material warrants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, if unexceptional, 30 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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Four new Holmes mysteries from the pen of John Taylor, inspired by Conan Doyle's original stories.

An Inscrutable Masquerade; Can Holmes bring a murder suspect to justice using the fledging science of ballistics?

The Trinity Vicarage Larceny; When restoration money is stolen from a church crypt, Holmes and Watson investigate to attempt to retrieve the money and restore the reputation of the unfortunate vicar.

The Conundrum of Coach 13; The duo investigate the seemingly impossible disappearance of an carriageload of gold bullion whilst on route on a train from Bristol to London.

The 10.59 Assassin; A friend of Holmes and Watson asks them to investigate when his son is arrested on suspicion of the murder of a man who had been harrassing the family.

Although they are very well read by Benedict Cumberbatch, I felt that the stories themselves lacked any real spark and generally didn't find them that interesting. Worse, a couple of them are really just too obvious and presented no real surprises when the truth was eventually revealed.

Overall, I found these to be entertaining, if unexceptional extensions of the Holmes and Watson stories and whilst, in the main, I enjoyed listening to these in the car, I doubt I'll be compelled to put them on again any time soon (if ever).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying for casual fans, 14 April 2012
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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The four stories presented here, written by John Taylor in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, are entertaining and satisfying in the tradition of all the best Holmes tales -- and indeed somewhat more successful in places. Although to be fair to Doyle, Taylor isn't inventing a genre as he goes along.

Benedict Cumberbatch is good -- slightly hammy -- in his performance. It comes as a shock to find that he is in fact principally playing Watson rather than Holmes, as Watson is Conan Doyle's narrator of choice, with Holmes (I now realise) being presented at an enigmatic remove. Cumberbatch's delivery is also in the 'period drama' mould -- the audio equivalent of grease paint and gaudy costume -- so that's also something you have to spend a little while getting used to. But these are observations rather than criticisms.

Major aficionados will dislike this product of course, but anyone who wants to taste the Holmes-flavoured universe will find this a pleasingly authentic and satisfying outing, and yes, you do have half a chance of solving the mysteries! (You won't, of course)
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 'new' Sherlock Holmes stories, 13 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
For all those searching for 'new' Sherlock Holmes stories, this new collection is a real find. Written by John Taylor, a well known writer and radio producer, Dr Watson introduces and recounts four `new' stories that have up till now remained a mere collection of random notes kept in a locked cedarwood, chest -` a box of secrets', which he has recently brought to light. All four stories are tremendously atmospheric and echo the flavour and power of the originals whilst feeling unique in themselves - not just an attempt to merely pastiche. To give the collection an added period feel, two have a railway theme.

All four stories present tantalising puzzles for the willing reader. In ' The Conundrum of Coach 13' Holmes is faced with what appears, on the face of it, to be an impossible robbery of gold bullion from a secured London to Bristol train. Other stories include Holmes experimenting with the science of ballistics, wrestling with a baffling theft from a vicarage and, perhaps my favourite, a particularly a strange murder near the railway, the solution to which is highly ingenious.

The casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, as the reader, is a masterstroke as it gives the stories a fresh contemporary feel whilst the quality of his reading itself retains the depth of characterisation so important to these tales.

There are some great characters, from obstructive policeman to a range of dedicated railway officials, and some lovely settings from famous stations to the Kent countryside. The combination of excellent stories, great atmosphere and terrific reading make this selection a cut above the usual. I hope Watson has some more tucked away somewhere.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice for the Holmes enthusisast., 22 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories (Audio CD)
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It is important to start by pointing out that these are not "true" Sherlock Holmes stories, and were not written by Doyle. They are stories in the same style and utilizing Doyle's style, but they are not genuine examples of the great detectives adventures. That said, the stories are reasonably entertaining, if not as in depth and clever as most of the originals. The endings are a bit more straight-forward and there is more emphasis on keeping the story exciting, but as there are no new Conan Doyle stories coming out, this is the best you are likely to find if you need just a bit more Holmes in your life. The addition of Benedict Cumberbatch reading the stories only adds to the appeal. I would recommend these to anyone with a real interest in the Holmes stories, but if you haven't aleready read them, this is not the place to start.
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