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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.
- the author self-evidently aged during the period;
- the world in which the stories are set changed a lot during the period;
- the character(s) over the same period must surely change and evolve;
- the stories in which they occur, for better or worse, must also change for all the preceding reasons;
- no-one can write more and more identically presented stories for ever.
When reading all the SH stories in a compressed timescale, it is easy to overlook all the above. But if you consider musicians and writers during our own lifetimes so far, anyone still producing the same stuff after 30/40 years just wouldn't keep selling their books/music!
But to the the presentation of the book itself. Firstly, at £1.99, you can't complain about the value for money! One thing I like about the Wordsworth editions is that they contain original artwork accompanying the stories, which I feel enhance the writing, as well as acting as a suitable reminder of the appearance and dress of the period. Books without pictures have not always been the norm, and I find their presence a welcome feature.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good condition, ordered late Friday night it arrived Sunday afternoon. Great short stories, the final two books of sherlocks adventuresPublished 8 months ago by David McCauley
Stories were a little bit too similar.Would not recommend reading them all in one go.However,they were enjoyable.Overall,very good if a couple of stories read at intervals.'IPublished 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
As gripping and enjoyable as when I first read the stories (60 years ago)Published 17 months ago by Billie Nelson