As you all know, I’m a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan. Whether the original canon or modern versions, I love the gas lights and foggy London streets of Victorian and Edwardian London. So, I’ve just come across an audiobook version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simon Prebble narrates this audiobook–one of my favorite voice artists. Mr. Prebble narrated quite a few audiobooks that I’ve enjoyed over the years.
The stories in this audiobook take the reader back to London and the timeless duo of Holmes and Watson as envisioned by Doyle, the author of the illustrious and long-lived detective duo. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes presents such well-known stories such as “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes is bested by Irene Adler. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” in which a rather dilapidated bowler hat and a fat goose figure rather prominently. In “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” Holmes’ client crops her luxuriant auburn hair short as part of her new job as a governess. Why? These stories and more entice the reader onwards on the heels of Holmes and Watson.
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Caiden Cooper Myles strikes the absolutely correct tone in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Miles’s prose rolls smoothly along—highlighting gas-lit, foggy London streets as well as the firelight in the sitting room of that famous duo—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The reader can see the yellow, swirling fog with gas lamps glowing dimly without casting much light.
In “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent,” coded messages under stamps reminds me of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” in that secret coded messages portend problems for the recipient. “The Problem of Hazelwood Grange” reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles in that Holmes sends Watson in his place to help gather clues, view the scene of the crime, and report back to Holmes. Watson purports himself well in this story. He is a well-drawn character in this story, as well as the rest of the tales. “The Adventure of the Drury Lane Pawnbroker” brings to mind “The Red-Headed League” because it deals with pawnbrokers and the misappropriation or mishandling of money. “The Adventure of the Naval Architect” recalls “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty.” Both involve stolen military secrets.
The author of these further adventures strikes the right note with both Holmes and Watson’s characterization. Watson always has an eye for women, as, in “The Adventure of the Braden Park Bench,” Watson notes, “She had dark hair, bright blue eyes, and an air of confidence beyond her years. I was immediately struck by her beauty.” On the other hand, Holmes stands as a more intellectual plateau in the same story about Braden Park. For example, “Mid-morning the following day, Holmes and I found ourselves in Amberley. It was a charming village which appealed to me but it did not appeal to my friend whose love of Mother Nature was largely limited to her poisons.”
Illustrations in this anthology are not the best. The frontispiece illustration before “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent” has Holmes in a too-small puffy chair . A puffy, gummy bear chair that looks like it will swallow him.
Caiden Cooper Myles demonstrates a knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes canon. I mentioned a few similarities between Myles’ stories anthologized in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Doyle’s stories. Similarities may exist for the other stories as well. But significant time has elapsed since I’ve read the original Holmes canon for me to be forgetful. These similarities in no way detract from Myles’ stories themselves or of my enjoyment of them. In fact, the faint similarities enhanced my appreciation of Myles’ writing style. Myles takes his version of Holmes and Watson in a new direction, including some modernizations such as Holmes’ use of a telephone. Myles’ stories are in no way derivative. They stand alone, a well-done addition to the contemporary Holmes canon.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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The Torso at Highgate Cemetery and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories by Tim Symonds has all the expected tropes, such as foggy London streets and fast hansom cab rides. From Highgate Cemetery to Holmes’ retirement bee farm in Sussex Holmes and Watson are “crammed into an agile hansom rattling off to Charing Cross Station [Watson’s] revolver tucked into a pocket.” One of the stories even has Watson in a prison in Istanbul! He even had a visitation from Mycroft Holmes and was sent to Crete to search for Holmes.
Things and times are more modern in some ways, too. Holmes has a telephone in the house at his farm. Modernity abounds as Holmes and Watson take a ride in a motorized hackney (i.e., an initial form of a car).
Overall, I liked these stories. Crisp writing enlivens them and causes tension. For example, in “The Torso at Highgate Cemetery,” Holmes and Watson indirectly cause the death of a Chinese scribe. Some oddities exist, too. In “The Mystery of the Missing Artefacts,” Watson had offered his services during World War I. While imprisoned, Watson received a telegram from Holmes to come assist him. As if Watson were casually sitting in his house in Marylebone. Upon Watson’s return, Holmes picked up relations with him as if Watson had been away on vacation. Really?!
Readers who enjoy works about the ever-popular Holmes and Watson, detectives extraordinaire, will be happy with this selection of short stories. From dealing with the ever-dangerous Colonel Sebastian Moran to scaring Dr. Watson with galloping knights and ghostly monks, things happen within these stories. Although some stories had sluggish spots; overall these six were enjoyable.
Not my favorite stories in the Holmes-Watson canon of pastiches. But, I would read other Holmes-Watson adventures written by this author.
I received a copy of The Torso at Highgate Cemetery and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories in exchange for an honest review.
In London’s dark and foggy depths Holmes and Watson keep vigil against the various misdeeds of those gone astray and perpetrators who assume they can outsmart the Holmes and Watson dynamic duo. Snagging stalkers, blackmailers, mesmerists leave Holmes and Watson little time to enjoy Mrs. Hudson’s cooking or smoke a pipeful of shag tobacco. All of the recognizable tropes of the Holmes and Watson stories appear in The Recollections of Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Hall‘s The Recollections of Sherlock Holmes hits all the right and best points for anyone who enjoys Holmes and Watson. Holmes accompanied by Watson and his service revolver seek clues in back alleys as well as posh surroundings. The duo are always on the lookout for new cases and experiences. Otherwise, Holmes exudes nervous energy and “abhorrence of inactivity. Of course, whenever a story involves a young woman, Watson delights in a pretty face and a shapely figure.
Whether catching jewel thieves red-handed or dealing with a case of a wife contracting with someone to kill her husband, Holmes is steady and calm in reading the clues and deducing the absolutely correct action. Of course, Watson is always up for an adventure and has Holmes’s back. The stories are engaging with spare prose that indubitably places Holmes and Watson in the center of any action. Criminals beware.
Arthur Hall is spot on with his choice of words to describe the pair and the setting. One can see the foggy streets with gas lamps gleaming faintly. One can almost smell Holmes’ shag tobacco as he ponders a problem. As always, sitting with his legs stretched out, Dr. Watson reads a medical journal nearby.
Always open to Holmes and Watson pastiches, whether full length or short stories, I liked this collection immensely.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Recollections of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Hall
edited by David Marcum
In Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories, Brenda Seabrooke does an excellent job of recreating Arthur Conan Doyle’s brisk, steady pacing. Seabrooke shows all sides of the famous duo. From Sherwin Soames, a tall lad interested in chemistry interacting with a Scottish lad, Ian Dotson, to John Watson helping solve one of the first cases he encounters early in his friendship with Holmes. Although uneven, these stories entertain.
Even as a young lad, Sherwin Soames, Seabrook’s protagonist in “The Marzando Matter,” has the markings of the adult we know from Conan Doyle. In this story, Soames admits he has already studied thieves, pickpockets, cut-purses and the like. Soames concludes: “The human mind is capable of almost anything and once set on a path is unlikely to change it unless or until it is expedient to do so.” “The Persian Slipper” lacks strength. Why would Holmes just insert himself into a case without being asked? The client had sought out Dr. Watson. Why would Holmes suggest that he and Watson use aliases while they were at the home of the fiancé of the client’s sister? And before he knew much of the facts in the case. Why would George Spencer-Hytton (the fiancé) suddenly show marked improvement when Dr. Watson had barely begun treatment?
Somewhat better is “The Curse of Barcombe Keep.” Sherlock Holmes lets on that he believes in curses to route out the murderer. Although why the staff were so shaken by an apparent curse that affected only the members of the Northington family, owners of the house, one can only guess.
Seabrooke creates a believable pair in her rendition of Holmes and Watson. As usual, Holmes is a step or two ahead of Watson in interpreting clues and witnesses. Seabrooke’s Watson demonstrates a sense of humor. At the beginning of “The Persian Slipper,” Watson grumbles about the heat while observing Holmes watching ice slivers in separate teacups. Smoke is rising from one of the cups. After a moment, Watson says, “I say – your ice is afire. It’s so hot even the ice is burning up.” Turns out, the cup contains a sliver of dry ice. Holmes is comparing the melting of that versus real ice.
I received a free copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories by Brenda Seabrooke from reedsy.com/discovery in exchange for an honest review.
Sherlock Homes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories
by Brenda Seabrooke
edited by David Marcum, Derrick Belanger and Brian Belanger
Books about fictional detectives—especially Sherlock Holmes—keep reproducing in my pile of books to be read. Much the same way as tribbles did in the original Star Trek TV series. (Anyone remember that besides me? Or am I really dating myself?) Novels, anthologies, what have you, about Sherlock Holmes multiply while I’m not watching. One such book is a slim short story collection by Bradley H. Sinor entitled The Game’s Afoot: A Holmesian Miscellany.
Three stories in this collection do not feature Holmes or Watson at all but feature other characters in the Holmes milieu. One such story includes Colonel Sebastian Moran, erstwhile associate of Professor Moriarty. Two other tales highlight Mycroft Holmes as detective/spy master. All of the adventures are of sufficient length and detail to give the reader an enjoyable view into the world of Holmes, Watson, et al. Unusual subject matter, such as vampires and alternate universes, enlivens a few of the tales. In “The Other Detective,” Holmes and Moriarty switch roles as the World’s First Consulting Detective and the Napoleon of Crime.
Precise prose enables these adventures to move along at a steady clip. Holmes inhabits his position as a man of few words but is somewhat less curmudgeonly than in Conan Doyle’s canon. Watson, a widower in these stories, meets the woman of his dreams for a second time in one of these narratives.
The Game’s Afoot: A Holmesian Miscellany is a nice change of pace considering the subject matter and change of worlds and lead characters in some of the stories.
The Game’s Afoot: A Holmesian Miscellany
by Bradley H. Sinor
Pro Se Productions, LLC
The Additional Investigations of Sherlock Holmes is a repackaging of seven tales written by Arthur Hall, a British author. David Marcum, a noted writer and editor of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, novels and anthologies, edited this volume. The specific stories contained in this volume were previously published in various editions of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
Although “The Adventure of the Disappearing Prisoner” is rather straightforward and offers a minimum of mystery, some of the other stories are more curious and puzzling. “The Adventure of the Drewhampton Poisoner” includes an Asian poison with which Holmes is unfamiliar, which is quickly rectified. Holmes’ familiarity with tattoos and the inks used in such also plays a role in that story. “The Adventure of the Returning Spirit” reveals Watson as a widower. This story incorporates an attempt to deceive him into believing his wife’s ghost had returned. Holmes, of course, debunks that theory. This adventure encompasses pure Watson and Holmes with Watson acting as a decoy while accompanying Lestrade in his duties. Holmes, meanwhile, follows in disguise.
Admirable Depiction of Holmes and Watson
Hall portrays Holmes and Watson in a fashion similar to Conan Doyle. Watson narrates the tales and shines a complimentary light on Holmes. Both characters are well-rounded, intelligent, and well-defined. The adventures are fairly quick reads and entertaining. The precise prose of Arthur Hall recalls the clear-cut, decisive prose of Conan Doyle. Most of Hall’s adventures elicit the same enjoyment at the denouement as the stories in the original canon. Such is the case in “The Adventure of Miss Anna Truegrace,” for example. With an unexpected twist, this case illustrates Holmes capturing a murderer involved in a very cold case. Thus, the seven cases rereleased as The Additional Investigations of Sherlock Holmes deserve a second reading if you’ve enjoyed them in their previous incarnations. They most definitely deserve a first reading if you are new to Arthur Hall’s incarnation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
I received a free copy of this book from www.reedsy.com/discovery in exchange for an honest review.
The Additional Investigations of Sherlock Holmes
By Arthur Hall
Edited by David Marcum
David Marcum’s prose in Sherlock Holmes and the Eye of Heka recollects the spare but effective prose of Arthur Conan Doyle. Lovers of the original canon are in for a real treat.
Dr. Watson inhabits a larger share of this adventure than in Doyle’s canon and in some modern pastiches. Watson’s marriage to a woman named Constance in this adventure precedes his marriage to Mary Marston. Watson’s marriage to Marston is indicated as Watson’s first marriage in Doyle’s writings about Holmes. Plus, new information is revealed about Watson’s interest in, and relationship with, women. Watson exhibits a range of emotions throughout this adventure, including irritation towards a woman who flirts with him shortly after the death of Constance.
In this exploit, Holmes and Watson team up with men they once thought were adversaries. The goal: to find a foot-tall statue depicting Heka, a minor African deity. This adventure involves some old friends from the ACD canon. Namely, Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade, who team up to help. The Baker Street Irregulars, Holmes’ loosely knit group of street urchins, help out in the background.
Holmes visits the various homes of the main suspects in pursuit of clues. He also requests help from several confederates and sits back like a skilled spymaster in the middle of the web he’s spun. Eventually, Holmes’ trap ensnares the guilty. But not before death comes to some of Holmes’ compatriots.
I very much enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and the Eye of Heka penned by David Marcum. Most notable is the treatment of Watson as a well-rounded character. Marcum’s other numerous writings about Holmes and Watson now inhabit a permanent place on my to-be-read list.
I received a free copy of this book from www.reedsy.com/discovery in exchange for an honest review.
Patricia Srigley has imbued the narrator of The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Cat with ironic humor. This imparts a lively outlook to what amounts to a collection of linked stories. Cat Watson, as the small black cat gets dubbed, shares the narration with Sherlock. So, certain aspects of the stories are discussed from both viewpoints.
Sherlock and Cat Watson go from adventure to adventure. Dr. John Watson is not much involved with these adventures. He’s newly married and taken a rambunctious dog as a pet.
Although the stories/chapters, “The Mystery of the Missing and Presumed Stolen Bicycle” and “The Case of the Wacky Widow,” for example, are not up to par with the Arthur Conan Doyle canon, all are entertaining. However, some of Sherlock’s actions are uncharacteristic for Doyle’s detective. For example, in “Doctor Watson’s Second Case,” “Sherlock rolled his eyes extravagantly.” Needless to say, this mannerism would be abnormal for Holmes. It is well known that Holmes does not particularly like women. But he is especially haughty and standoffish with Mary Watson. Same with Srigley’s portrayal of Mrs. Hudson, who inquires, “Yes, Sherlock dearest?” in the same chapter. She also makes unnecessary nonsense talk to Holmes’ cats (he ends up with two). Plus, Dr. Watson is satirized as a fool, always coming to Holmes with minor, inconsequential problems. And looking bedraggled with a thin, but large, droopy mustache.
These stories are for those who enjoy lighthearted humor and also Sherlock Holmes.
(For another mystery with a black cat as narrator, see my review of Clea Simon’s The Ninth Life.)
I received a free copy of The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Cat. I gave an honest opinion of this book.
MX Publishing has issued another winner in the ongoing saga of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes and the Egyptian Tomb Mystery by Joanna M. Rieke entertains. This case of Holmes, mummies and mystery moves quickly along.
Holmes and Watson have a friendlier relationship in this case than in some cases in the original Conan Doyle canon. The regard they have for each other because of their long association is evident. Holmes even hugs Watson at one point, showing more emotion than is usually apparent from Holmes. Also, Holmes drags Watson to safety after Watson suffers a concussion.
This case has the famous duo in trouble caused by Colonel Moran and Professor Moriarty. Important plans about the Suez Canal are stolen. Holmes and Watson trace them to an Egyptology exhibit at the British Museum. While investigating the death of a night watchman in connection to the case, the duo go to the basement. A fire set by Colonel Moran imperils Holmes and Watson.
Of course, there are many twists and turns in the detection and discernment of clues by Holmes with Watson’s help. The pacing is steady, but sluggish in spots. Rieke deftly draws Holmes and Watson. Their friendship and comradery are unmistakable.
Rieke has written other works based on the Holmes and Watson saga. I will read others in the future.
I received a free copy of Sherlock Holmes and the Egyptian Tomb Mystery but was free to give my honest opinion.