I listen to many audiobooks and review the ones I find most notable.
I have recently been trying to acquaint myself with the great Sherlock Holmes as I had never gotten around to it in my youth. As I love Neil Gaiman's works, when I'd discovered that he wrote a Holmes tale, I was sold. I love Neil Gaiman's spin on this classic. It is perfect, spot on, and very fun. I think all Holmes fans would prefer to think of this story as canon. I know I do.
This short story is an alternate history mashup piece of Sherlock Holmes/HP Lovecraft fan fiction. All the familiar faces - Lestrade, Holmes (kind of) and his loyal doctor sidekick - are present as they are brought in to solve the case of a murdered member of the royal family, with the only clue being the word "Rache" written in green ichor at the murder scene.
Green ichor, because the royal family isn't human and this is an alternate history in which eldritch things arrived centuries ago to bestow their benevolent rule upon humanity and relieve us of the necessity of determining our own fates.
That isn't the only twist in this retelling of "A Study in Scarlet," it's just the non-spoilery one revealed in the first few pages.
Honestly, I think Neil Gaiman is a wee bit overrated - his stories are interesting twists and he writes well, but while he does a very good job incorporating myths and legends into modern stories, over and over, and writing what's basically literate fan fiction, I haven't found anything of his to be truly genius since Sandman and Good Omens. Still, I keep reading his stuff because it never fails to be entertaining.
Whenever Neil Gaiman does something with either Lovecraft or Conan Doyle, good things happen, and since this story mixes both, you expect sparks to fly. As they do.
On one level the story is simply clever -- the situation, the advertisements. But it isn't merely clever, but also reflects an interesting perspective on the way that cultural ideas develop. For example, the Great Old Ones, or whatever Lovecraft called them, fit in here very much like actual European royalty, and their vices, though heinous, probably aren't greater in magnitude or different in kind. And they have much the same claim to legitimacy, which is to say they grabbed power and held onto it, and they're doing a reasonable job running the state, without being too parasitical. They've been around so long that they're part of the national identity now, and people feel properly loyal without questioning very much how all this came about.
So what makes them fundamentally different? The fact that they came from another planet and don't look human? People seem to have adjusted to that well enough, and there's plenty of precedent for foreign-born rulers. In fact, aren't they just the established national order now, and isn't rebellion against them regicide, hence treason? Would Holmes and Watson be the same people without their loyalty to the Crown, or would they just look like sleepwalkers if they were loyal under these circumstances? If they did look like sleepwalkers, would it just be because a familiar cultural process is being shown under an unfamiliar light?
Gaiman narrates the story himself, and it's hard to imagine anyone else doing it better.
Eloquent writing coherent story
Good performance i like it a lot very well done would like more
Cannot say enough good things about this very well-written story. If you love the Sherlock Holmes stories and also appreciate H.P.Lovecraft, you will be in seventh heaven. It made it special for me to hear the author himself read it.
How clever it is.
Oh dear, that would be telling.
Do yourself a favor and get this story. Listen to it all the way through and without distractions.
I really loved this short story! It's clever and set in an interesting version of London and the plot twist is excellent. This will be one of my new go to audio books. And Neil Gaiman is a wonderful narrator, as always
This short story was true to the tone of the original while introducing several unexpected (and macabre) surprises with the biggest surprise revealed at the end. Loved it! it made me want to go back and listen to the original stories again!
Nice mix between Sherlock Holmes and a sort of Lovecraft universe. I wish it were longer because after it ended I found myself wanting more.