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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It's no secret that by this point Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was bored with Sherlock Holmes and wished to let him go forever but the public kept hounding him and he only wrote them out of obligation. The lack of inspiration shows and the stories seem generic.

A few of them are not even told from Watson's perspective, with one being a rather odd third-person story and two being told by Holmes himself. Perhaps the constant narration by Watson is what led to so many movies casting Conan-Doyle lookalikes to play him as a bumbling fool who does no more than follow Holmes around. Or maybe Conan-Doyle was just trying to experiment by not sticking to formula. But Watson is missed in the story 'The Lion's Mane', in which there isn't even any damn crime committed. And there's not even any mystery in the 'Veiled Lodger' story. It was 19 pages of pointlessness!

Don't get me wrong, there are couple of good stories, such as 'The Blanched Soldier' and the one with the wife who commits suicide (the name of that story escapes me). But 'The Case of the Sussex Vampire' and 'The Creeping Gentlemen' have intriguing set-ups but lame endings. And in the case of the latter, just down-right far-fetched and ill-fitting in the Holmes universe.

I think the main problem with most of these is that the never really go anywhere. Literally. Holmes seems to solve them without even leaving his office. Come on! Let's go out and have an adventure rather than staying in and doing work!

By this point Holmes was past his prime and any discriminating fan will realize this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My friends, having the dulcet narrative of Sir Derek Jacobi for this last installment fills me with equal parts pleasure and grief.

Jacobi manages to keep the ranges consistent for Holmes and Watson and more importantly, believably so. Nowhere is this more important in the two cases that depart from the standard Watson record: The Blanched Soldier, where Holmes attempts to write up the case himself and The Mazarin Stone, written from third perspective. These cases, while by no means outstanding in their content, are unique for the style.

The characterisation is brought to life in the sense that a master storyteller, comfortable in the role, is bearing his full powers of oratory upon the subject. There is no need for vocal embellishment, aside from excited rogues and females.

You may ask why my grief? From preface onwards, there are reminders that Sherlock has entered a new century. Thus he has aged and as all mortals, will meet an end. The fact that Sir Jacobi hardly needs to raise his pitch at all for Holmes, something that I cheekily complained about in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (BBC Audio) , actually accentuates the passing of the years for the great detective.

May I also add that having followed this audiobook series to their conclusion I understand better the strengths and the weaknesses of Laurie R King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell Mystery 01) and the series. Perhaps it is the sense of loss that made me grasp this continuation, which is worthy in its own right.

But I thank Sir Jacobi for reminding and allowing me to return to the master in his pomp, and also with the advantage of not needing to dust off pages had been left after being read so long ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This collection includes the last dozen cases of Arthur Conan Doyle's consulting detective, raised from his slumber by popular demand after a four year gap by an author who, by the 1920s, seems more interested in pursuing other avenues. Doyle's explanation for his reluctant return to Baker Street is outlined in the foreword which is helpfully also included on this 8CD set, but it's easy to deduce his heart and mind were wandering with these tales.

Rather than following the original publication order, it ends with The Adventure of the Retired Colourman rather than the final Holmes story Doyle wrote, The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place, and begins with The Case of the Illustrious Client, which immediately sets out the problem with this collection: while a perfectly acceptable story, it relies little on Holmes' unique skills and could almost have evolved around any pair of Edwardian gentleman trying to save an innocent woman from her disastrous choice of suitor. Worse still, Holmes resorts to simple burglary rather than intellect to get the job done. While subsequent cases see Holmes on more familiar ground, Doyle's growing interest in spiritualism and the supernatural and his evident antipathy towards his own creation give the stories a rather begrudging and lackadaisical quality, as if Doyle may give in to the public's demands for more Holmes but only if he can involve him in the kind of adventures that interest him. There is an interesting attempt to change style with the three stories related in the third person rather than by Holmes' faithful chronicler Dr Watson, and Holmes himself recounting his adventure on occasion, but these feel like the author attempting to liven up an assignment he finds a bit dull with a stylistic exercise. More interesting is the relentlessly darker tone that veers less to the gothic and more to lurid pulp fiction at times, but it remains the least interesting of the collections - entertaining but memorable more for the change in tone than the quality of the stories themselves.

Derek Jacobi provides a decent reading but even he seems to be running out of inspiration here: the watchword, as with the stories, is more solid professionalism than genuine enthusiasm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes contains 12 stories originally published between 1921 and 1927, then collected and published as a book in 1927. The twelve stories are:

"The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"
"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier"
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone"
"The Adventure of the Three Gables"
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"
"The Adventure of the Three Garridebs"
"The Problem of Thor Bridge"
"The Adventure of the Creeping Man"
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane"
"The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger"
"The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place"
"The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"

These stories contain some of the weakest in the canon, especially the adventure of the creeping man, which at times veers off into rather fantastical science fiction, but nonetheless there is still much to enjoy here as Holmes turns his deductive powers to locating lost crown jewels, dealing with a suspected case of vampirism, clearing a young woman unjust accused of the Thor Bridge murder, mixing with the turf fraternity and circus people and finally looking into the disappearance of the wife of the retired colourman. There is plenty here to keep the avid Holmsian interested as the Conan Doyle displays both his creation's deductive powers and his own ability to write a thrilling adventure story. This series also contains my own personal favourite Holmes short story, the Three Garridebs, in which Holmes' regard for Watson is laid bare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes contains 12 stories originally published between 1921 and 1927, then collected and published as a book in 1927. The twelve stories are:

"The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"
"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier"
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone"
"The Adventure of the Three Gables"
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"
"The Adventure of the Three Garridebs"
"The Problem of Thor Bridge"
"The Adventure of the Creeping Man"
"The Adventure of the Lion's Mane"
"The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger"
"The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place"
"The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"

These stories contain some of the weakest in the canon, especially the adventure of the creeping man, which at times veers off into rather fantastical science fiction, but nonetheless there is still much to enjoy here as Holmes turns his deductive powers to locating lost crown jewels, dealing with a suspected case of vampirism, clearing a young woman unjust accused of the Thor Bridge murder, mixing with the turf fraternity and circus people and finally looking into the disappearance of the wife of the retired colourman. There is plenty here to keep the avid Holmsian interested as the Conan Doyle displays both his creation's deductive powers and his own ability to write a thrilling adventure story. This series also contains my own personal favourite Holmes short story, the Three Garridebs, in which Holmes' regard for Watson is laid bare.

Derek Jacobi's full text reading, on 8 discs, is a real pleasure. It is the next best thing to reading the actual book. Jacobi provides a great narrating voice, slipping into the role of Watson relating events perfectly. You almost feel as though you are sat next to Watson in his club as he reminisces on his adventures with his friend Holmes. It's masterful. I enjoyed listening to this immensely, as I have with all the other releases in the series. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third in the BBC's series of unabridged readings of Sherlock Holmes (following The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes). This set of stories, as with the other two, is read quite wonderfully by Derek Jacobi. If you already have some Sherlock Holmes readings not in this series, this latest set includes:

- The Illustrious Client
- The Blanched Soldier
- The Mazarin Stone
- The Three Gables
- The Sussex Vampire
- The Three Garridebs
- The Problem of Thor Bridge
- The Creeping Man
- The Lion's Mane
- The Veiled Lodger
- Shoscombe Old Place
- The Retired Colourman

Given that Jacobi is reading directly from Conan Doyle's text, the stories are just as good as one would expect. While he doesn't quite have the range that is available from a full-cast dramatization, Jacobi is an excellent reader. He switches between a cultured, icy Holmes and the befuddled Watson with ease, and lends a unique sound to all of the various secondary characters, male and female.

Unfortunately, as with the other entries in this series, the stories are spread contiguously across eight CD's. Which is to say, that some CD's finish halfway through a story, which can be particularly irritating if you're listening while trying to go to sleep, or are in the car, and don't want to dig through a giant stack of CD's to find out what happens next.

The above issue is exacerbated slightly in that all eight CD's are on one enormous spindle in a double size CD case, making it rather difficult to reach the one you want if it's somewhere in the middle of the stack. Fortunately, the inside cover of the case contains a track listing, so you can quickly look up which stories are on which discs, and the CD's also have this information on their art. It's worth noting that the CD case is in the same rather psychedelic art as the other entries in the series, in a case of the same size - so they look rather nice lined up on a shelf together. However, they're almost impossible to get into a standard CD rack, unless you have one with adjustable shelves.

As above, the stories themselves are as clever and gripping as ever - Arthur Conan Doyle is one of the Grand Old Men of the mystery genre, and it's easy to see why here; the original texts are page turners, and nothing is lost in the reading.

Overall, this is another high quality edition of Holmes, delivered in audio, as advertised, complete and unabridged. Derek Jacobi does a superb job as the reader, and I highly recommend both this set, and the two preceding volumes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I won't review the literary merits of these short stories, because I am sure much better "critics" than I would have already done so in volumes! So my review is about this audiobook version, and the qualities of narrator, reading and so on.

The inclusion of the reading of the author's own preface is very good. It gives a nice literary and historical context of the character of Sherlock Holmes and also of the author's own views of his Sherlock Holmes stories. Derek Jacobi's reading is in "Victorian" character (or at east what I imagine Victorian would be) from the start, even to the point of giving character to the author's preface.

If someone comes into this audiobook series, read clearly and characterfully by Derek Jacobi, having only seen the more modern/contemporary reimaginings of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson on TV, may immediately think the readings here sound stuffy and very very posh! But I think it is sometimes important to have a narration which is true to the period especially when read directly from the original source ( the unabridged stories) giving it a more accurate historical, cultural and social context to what the author imagined it to be. We can't get away from the sense that some of the Victorian period characterisation seems out of step with the way most people are these days, but I think it would also be dishonest to produce a reading from a book if it completely ignores its original context and the author's background.

The stories are enjoyable, not as good as the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, but I think they form and important conclusion to the collection of Sherlock Holmes on audiobook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The set comprises the complete collection of stories, 12 in all, spread across 8 CDs. It comes in a big CD box with all the CDs stacked on a single spindle. It's made of soft plastic, so it won't crack and bits won't snap off. Some reviewers have moaned about the packaging but I have no problem with it.

Having 12 stories on 8 CDs means that most of the stories start halfway through one CD and finish halfway through the next CD. For example, The Sussex Vampire start on CD 3 track 22, and ends on CD4 track 10. To avoid all the CD-swapping, I transferred the whole thing to my iPod before listening to it. There is a decent gap between each story, so it doesn't leap straight form the end of one to the start of the next. The stories are each between 37 and 60 minutes long, which makes them ideal for listening to while commuting.

Derek Jacobi does a fine job of reading the stories, giving them plenty of life, and putting his own vocal twist on them. It's all compelling stuff, though his female voices are a bit suspect at times. The stories themselves are not Holmes' finest adventures, but they are all worthy pieces of work, and tolerate repeated listening. I enjoyed all of them. It's a really good set, but not quite up there with the very best I've ever heard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As with previous titles, Sir Derek Jacobi once again provides an excellent narrator for some of Conan Doyle's lesser known Sherlock Holmes stories.

With 8 discs on offer here, the tales are spread over several discs, all held on a spindle in this plastic lock case. I'm not a big fan of these cases, but there isn't much in the way of alternatives, aside from an easily-broken flip case, so I'll let that pass. It's far easier to spend a bit of time getting them transferred to MP3 and there's also a £5 Audiogo voucher to directly download another Audiobook from the website.

The Casebook stories aren't quite as well known or as revered as earlier tales, but are still interesting and a lot better than some of Conan Doyle's contemporaries or later crime fiction. They have certainly stood the test of time and this audio version once again breaths life into the short takes of murder, robbery and logical deduction.

New fans of the detective can do much worse than picking up this set, though I'd advise them to start with the earlier sets first. The language may, at times, put some off; these haven't been modernised in any way and are (quite rightly) full and unabridged readings from the original material.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2002
Although the latter Holmes stories have received much criticism, I personally feel that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was brilliant to the very end. For the most part, the plots in these stories are as ingenious as any of the ones in the earlier stories. The only thing about these stories that is somewhat disappointing is that they do not add very much to Holmes' character. The emphasis is more on the mystery instead of on the intrigue of Holmes' character as most of the earlier stories were. While some may find it annoying that Doyle left so much mystery about Holmes, I feel strongly that this is the very reason that Sherlock Holmes is one of the most popular characters in fiction. The only other way that Doyle could have done it would have been to give Holmes the typical dark or tragic past with some personal tragedy to explain his character and justify all his faults. In which case, Holmes would be a very typical character. The dark, tragic past might not have been typical in the late 19th century but it most certainly is so today. And brilliant writing is not about just creating something that's new and original at the moment. It's about creating something that can remain new and original. Some may disagree, but I most definitely feel that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a brilliant writer.
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