Wish I had known I had it already in another book before wasting a purchase. I like the story and performance very much however.
Typical Gaiman short stories. I found it an enjoyable read. He is a master storyteller. I liked the twist on Sherlock Holmes.
i've actually listened to this twice in the 2 months since i've had it... which is unheard of for me; i'm sure it's something i will re-listen to periodically, the nuances of the story and neil gaiman's narration both stand up to repeat experiences incredibly well. plus it's just sooooo flippin' FUN! :)
very possibly the all-time best "sherlock holmes" adventure that was not written by arthur conan doyle. (ok, at least it's a tie with laurie r. king's russell and holmes novels, which are entirely different, but equally good.) a note for non-holmesians: neil gaiman assumes you know the conan-doyle stories, in general, and "a study in scarlet" in particular; i'm not entirely sure how well it would work if you were utterly unfamiliar with the source material. (it's still neil gaiman, though, so i suspect it'd be good... but you'd be missing out on some verrrry clever twists!)
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.