In a smooth, calm, British accent, Alexander Spencer gives actual voice to the beloved Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s faithful assistant and narrator of most of Holmes’s crime-fighting adventures. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is an 1894 collection of stories about the great detective and features such favorites as "Silver Blaze" and "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual". Particularly notable is "The Final Problem", set at the spectacular Reichenbach Falls in Meiringen, Switzerland, where Holmes is pitted against the brilliant and evil Professor Moriarty, and which Doyle considered to be one of his finest efforts. The listener is invited to dim the lights and test her powers of deduction.
(P)1980 by Recorded Books, Inc.; Cover Illustration © 1990 by Dan Sweetman
I enjoyed these short stories of Holmes's deductive sleuthing very much. This unabridged collection presents about 12-15 stories in all, read by two narrators with classic British accents.
The memoirs are told through the voice of Watson, Holmes's accomplice and closest friend. We hear stories from each part of their acquaintance -- how they met, their adventures over the years, and the sad story of how their friendship came to an end, all recounted through narrations of the cases they worked together.
At times, I found I needed to rewind the story to pick up a turns of phras that has fallen out of use in this century or is not commonly used here in the US.
I found I really enjoyed this listen for two reasons:
- I found the late 19th century english writing style to be quite an interesting and welcome departure from modern North American english
- I found myself at times trying to out-Sherlock Holmes and failing repeatedly, and just like Watson, finding it amazing how easily the facts fall together when viewed from Watson's perspective. Some of this is accomplished through the narrative device of only telling the story from Watson's perspective, but nevertheless, the majority of the facts of the case are there in plain view. You find yourself amazed again and again at how cunning Holmes's character is.
A few caveats for those that are unfamiliar with Doyle's style and only have the movies or television to refer to when considering Sherlock Holmes:
- A few of the stories are slow paced and dialog makes up a substantial fraction of most stories.
- Not for people with little patience for foreign accents -- the entire read is in proper British english
- This is NOT an action or adventure story and lacks the suspense of modern detective novels. It will not have you gripped with fear, anxiety, or quickened pulse like a Sue Grafton or Steven King novel. It is an intellectual and literary adventure. Know that going in.
KRH in Columbia MO
While the audio quality of this book is lacking, it is well read and true to the nature of Holmes. The only problem is there are no spoken titles or segues from one story to another. If you are not familiar with Doyle's stories, you will not know when the story changes. How difficult would it be to add titles?
The audio quality for this book is terrible. It's completely unlistenable. It's like fingernails on a chalk board- I can't believe Audible would sell something of this poor quality.
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