©2004 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I'd read the story a while ago.
Everything. The man is talented.
I listen during my commute. There were times I sat in the driveway until a section ended, but I've read it before, so no, not all in one sitting.
Jacobi and Holmes. Perfect combination.
"That's the result of all our study in scarlet: to get them a testimonial!"
I've long wanted to experience all of the Sherlock Holmes stories in publication order. When I found a set on Audible narrated by the wonderful British stage actor Derek Jacobi, I could not resist downloading the first two novellas: "A Study in Scarlet" and "The Sign of the Four." I very much enjoyed Jacobi's characterizations, especially of Holmes, Watson and the befuddled Scotland Yard inspectors, Gregson and Lestrade. (His American accents in the story's second half, however, were sometimes painfully awkward.)
"A Study in Scarlet" introduces the famous partnership of Dr. John Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes ("You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive") as well as the brilliant Holmes's methods of observation and deduction. In the first half of the tale, Holmes tracks down and apprehends a murderer bent on chilling revenge. The story's second half relates what happened decades before in Utah to set this determined man on his murderous path.
Although others have found the shift from Watson's first-person narration to the third-person flashback to be jarring, both narrative threads held my interest. The crime and its solution were put together cleverly and logically, although this is not a fair-play mystery readers can solve for themselves. The denouement was a bit too quick for my tastes; I don't believe Doyle left any loose threads dangling, but I would have appreciated a more fleshed-out ending to balance the long flashback detailing the killer's motive.
The best part of the story was glimpsing the beginning of the friendship between Holmes and Watson, which would soon captivate the reading public. This was a very enjoyable weekend listen, and I've already queued up "The Sign of the Four" for my next listen.
Derek Jacobi's voices and tone are superb.
The best part of this story is the story, of course. I love Conan Doyle.
The different voices and tones in his voice.
Jacobi, usually a great narrator, tries too hard with this classic Sherlock Holmes story. Apparently he thinks that Dr. Watson's genial narrative isn't exciting enough, and needs to be jazzed-up with over-the-top expression. This version is hard to listen to, and obscures the reasons people have loved the Sherlock Holmes stories for a hundred years -- Doyle's writing.
Calm down and just read the story in a factual tone. The writing is sufficiently interesting in itself -- it doesn't need enhancing.
I'd be first in line to see a faithful version of this story. But I hate revisionist Sherlock Holmes. He was a mortal man with extraordinary gifts, and that's enough for a good movie -- although apparently, I'm the only one who thinks so.
I love Derek Jacobi, and I have always really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes mysteries, so I thought this was a no brainer for me. Wow, was I surprised when it turned into a dis on Mormonism. The LDS people were portrayed as being run by oppressive men who captured unwilling females and made them live polygamy. Although there were cults then and are today who do that, the Mormons never did. The religion is based on free agency, and were among the first to grant women rights that they had to fight for elsewhere. They stood by a woman's right to vote, for example, long before it was fashionable. If I had known, I would never have bought this book. It is so full of untruths that I wanted to cry. I would have stopped listening, but it was a short book, and I was interested to see how it ended. In truth, Conan Doyle used the setting of the Mormons to set up his mystery, that I understand, and from that standpoint, it was a well crafted novel. I just wish he would have been a little more thorough in his research of a noble people who have had their share of name-calling and misrepresentation.
As I mentioned, I love Derek Jacobi. He is probably my favorite male narrator. But even the great Shakespearean actor had a hard time slaughtering the English language to sound authentically American. It was good for a laugh, though, and maybe the best thing about the book.
You know Sherlock Holmes. You've seen adaptations on TV, you know his stories. But, listening/reading the books is just wonderful. By reading, you gain a deeper understanding of Holmes, of Watson, of Victorian England and Derek Jacobi is an amazing narrator. He is perfect for the job. Also, by reading some of the books you get the added bonus of the second part of the story which gives you the background to the current case. So even though you may be familiar with the stories, have a listen and instead of being preoccupied with 'who done it' (cos you probably know already), enjoy the journey and allow Holmes to lead you there in his own unique way.
"A study in Sherlock"
Having been bored by other audiobooks in the past, I was unsure how Sherlock Holmes would fare. I need not have worried, in the capable voice of Derek Jacobi you find a well modulated voice, with none of the sleep inducing drone of other narrators, and a subtle touch with character voices that doesn't descend into characature. If you want Sherlock on audio it has to be Jacobi.
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