I wouldn't say the audio edition is better than the print version, but it was definitely the only way I was going to have the time to read the complete works. I listened while at work, and for many days it made my work a pleasure.
Sherlock was by far the character portrayed the best by the voice actor. For a male actor to have to impersonate a female voice can be awkward, and he did as well as could be expected, though an obviously male falsetto has the effect of making you imagine a transvestite in your head rather than the young beautiful woman described by the story.
There were many moments that moved me - and surprised me as well. That the stories were so easy to connect with and still so exciting even after all this time was remarkable; keep in mind that the stories are set in a time period where they didn't have cars or telephones. Watson and Holmes are sending telegrams and messenger boys to communicate with people, and jumping into horse-drawn carriages to chase their villains, and yet the attitudes are in many ways very modern and the humor still fresh.
Race and class issues comes up several times and the way Sir Conan Doyle dealt with these things made it clear he was a very forward-thinking man.
I had no idea Sherlock was so hilarious.
This series has made me very critical of all versions of this character that have appeared in movies and television. Now that I know the source, it's clear when a drama is just borrowing the name "Sherlock Holmes" to conjure up the idea of a master detective without really taking anything of his real character, and when they have really made an effort.
As someone who has grown up watching crime dramas on TV and in the movies, reading these books was a revelation - most people will have no idea how many story ideas modern TV has ripped-off from these pages. In that sense, many of the stories were almost too easy for me to solve as a reader before getting to their conclusions - not because I'm so smart, but because I'd heard variations on these stories so many times before over the course of decades without knowing where they came from. In that sense, these books have a much tougher audience now than they did when they were first published. Today's general public is not as easily astonished by Sherlock's feats, having seen them mimicked by so many TV shows - even shows that don't reference Holmes directly - and yet his tricks are wonderful and it's a privilege to see where the modern crime drama originated. Sir ArthurConan Doyle was mimicking no one, and he created a rich, unforgettable character very difficult to reproduce.
The narrator. Worst I've ever heard.
Ms. Eyre's narration was off-putting from the start. Less than a minute into the book I wanted to return it, but when I found that process less than straightforward and it was not a convenient time to call customer service, I decided to tough it out and try to endure the narrator's voice, hoping that the story would be compelling enough that I could ignore her. This was impossible. I listened to a few chapters like this and finally couldn't take it anymore. She sounds as though she's trying very hard to be dramatic, and as a result her speaking voice is very unnatural. Her voice has a tendency to drop into a low, creaky register which is grating, and the rest of the time she alternates between a slightly quavering, nervous sounding tone and a whiny one. When she speaks for the characters, who are all Spanish, she sometimes finds it necessary to speak in an accent, other times not. In my opinion, since the book is being read in translation, there is no need to imagine them speaking accented English, but if we must, the accent should at least be plausible. Her inconsistent application of the accent is weird enough (since all characters are Spanish, not just some of them) but the accent she applies to them is vaguely German.
It's sad - I heard a great review of this book and was very excited to read it, and now that I've switched to the kindle version I'm enjoying it much more, though the whole point of buying the audiobook was that I don't have lots of time to sit and read. It really is well written and well translated, but to listen to this woman read it would have ruined it for me. I was so excited to get the book that I neglected to read reviews first - others warned of the narration problem. I should have listened. Don't make the same mistake!
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