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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
97
Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 21 April 2017
Loved the stories
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on 14 November 2017
Interesting stories, well narrated by Benedict. I particularly like Benedict reads in different voices for different characters.
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 16 February 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 June 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I liked this a lot it is the first Sherlock Holmes type audio book I have listened to so it is difficult to compare with the "real thing" however I enjoyed the four stories which were superbly narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. It should be noted that this is an audio book rather than a play with various actors. John Taylor certainly recreates the feel of the Sherlock Holmes novels and although I am not sure anyone can exactly reproduce Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's style this makes a valiant attempt.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My toes curl with shame as I say I actually wrinkled my nose in distaste at the very idea of new Holmes stories. Sacrilege, surely? Well no, actually, it isn't. I'm glad to say that I listened to these superb stories and felt wholly ashamed of my previous silly prejudice. Here are four tautly written, very exciting stories each of which had me holding me breath towards the denouement, listening enrapt. If someone had told me that these were genuine Conan-Doyle stories, recently found in a dusty tin box in an attic of one of his descendants, I'd have believed them, so seamlessly do they fit into the existing canon. Cumberbatch is a marvellous narrator, drawing out the characters of Watson and Holmes so deftly that in places it's hard to believe it's the same actor doing both voices. Any fan of Holmes, or of detective/mystery stories can't fail to enjoy these stories, they're superb.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 July 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The three ways of being entertained regarding the `written word' is through books, film and television, and a fairly recent arrival on the block, the audio CD. Yes, audio discs existed beforehand but they were rather late starters compared to the others. Yes, there is undoubtedly a market for the audio CD but they will have to be better than what's offered up here.

Four stories written by John Taylor, each supposedly being a case Sherlock Holmes' that was never made public. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the stories themselves, it's the delivery that lets this collection down. Benedict Cumberbatch does have one of those voices made for this type of media but there's no variation in his tone. There's nothing there to excite the listener and conjure visions of what you're being told. Each of the four stories is about 30 minutes in length, so won't take up too much of your time but having listened to them, I just couldn't generate any enthusiasm.To my ears, Holmes and Watson sound the same though maybe that's how these things should sound; I would have thought more effort would have been made to allow the listener to differentiate between characters.

As a four novel compendium, it might have worked but then maybe it's just me that can't get on with a format such as this. It's not that different to having someone sitting next to you reading from a book; that doesn't work either.
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on 1 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was hoping for some old style Sherlock Holmes with this CD and it didn't disappoint me. These four new stories are written in a very authentic style, and read with much enthusiasm by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Naturally enough, he does Sherlock Holmes extremely well, but he also does a superb Dr Watson and also voices a wide range of characters, many of whom are so convincing you may wonder momentarily if it's an audiobook or a play.

The stories themselves are not too complicated. In fact two of them (it would be reckless of me to say which and why) are so obvious it does not take a genius detective to see the ending from half the story away. That's not to say they aren't good, dramatic stories, and the portrayal and scripting of the two central characters never once strayed from how I have always visualised them in my head. Two of the stories are much more intriguing, and I confess that when I came to the last one, my immediate thought was, "are John Taylor and Benedict Cumberbatch making any more?"
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