A Study in Emerald draws listeners in through carefully revealed details as a consulting detective and his narrator friend solve the mystery of a murdered German noble. But with its subtle allusions and surprise ending, this mystery hints that the real fun in solving this case lies in imagining all the details that Gaiman doesn't reveal, and challenges listeners to be detectives themselves.
©2006 Neil Gaiman; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers
This story is brilliant, and subtle. It's a real treat! It's even worth re-listening to, because you will certainly miss some fantastical points the first time through. If you've listened to Sherlock Holmes stories before, don't let yourself get lulled into the familiar patterns of speech and characters -- keep sharp! You'll be glad you paid attention! If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Gaiman pays great homage to two amazing authors, and leaves his own patent mark, too. Buy it! You won't regret it!
What a nice retelling of a classic: comfortable yet unnerving. It's like putting an old pair of slippers and noticing how warm and fuzzy they are still and then noticing that you just put your feet in 2 spider nests...
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
My love of Holmes and my growing admiration for Gaiman led me to choose this fantastic short story. I must confess to being at a slight disadvantage in my appreciation of the tale because I am not familiar with Lovecraft's writings, being only an occasional visitor to the sci-fi genre. However, I was delighted at both the story and (as always) Gaiman's performance, and my first instinct as it ended was to start it right back at the beginning, because I am certain I missed some details the first time through. Loved the "advertisements" at the beginning of the chapters, although I suspect my ignorance of Lovecraft obscured the meaning of some of them.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
A Study in Emerald is a Hugo and Locus Award winning short story by Neil Gaiman in which he pays tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle???s Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft???s Cthulhu Mythos.
At first Gaiman???s story appears to be a straight Sherlock Holmes pastiche as a man who appears to be Watson relates how his new friend, a consulting detective who appears to be Holmes, is being asked by Inspector Lestrade to help solve a murder mystery. In fact, it completely parallels Doyle???s first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet,which gets its name from Holmes??? comment that the murder scene is ???a study in scarlet.???
You probably know where I???m going with this. There are a few clues that Gaiman???s world is not the England we know (e.g., it???s referred to by its ancient name of Albion), but we???re left in no doubt when this murder scene is ???a study in emerald.??? Still, though, Gaiman only hints at what this alternate England is like, and the fact that he never tells us much is part of the charm of this story. Then, when the narrator and detective solve the case and call the Inspector in to arrest their criminal, Gaiman throws us a delightful twist that will have Sherlock???s fans grinning.
I listened to Neil Gaiman narrate the audio version of A Study in Emerald which is 49 minutes long and is available at Audible for $3 for members and $4 for non-members. I always enjoy hearing Gaiman read his own stories. If you???d prefer to read this story in print, you can find a free pdf version that reads like a Victorian newspaper at Neil Gaiman???s website.
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
While I give this book a 5 star rating, it is not because it is one of my personal favorite Neil Gaiman pieces; it is not. Dubliners is not my favorite James Joyce. Both, however, are examples of wonderful writing that clearly stand out among the common fair. My favorite NG includes Graveyard Book and Stardust. Both completely different from A Study in Emerald but still of the same literary excellence.
This story is great. The homage to H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle is wonderfully done.
Its amazing how the story draws you in and, at a point, has you siding with the ancient evil that has taken hold of the world. The surprising identity of the main character flips your entire perspective of the story as you realize who the "bad guys" really are. The story is masterfully crafted, but this twist sealed the deal for me. It instantly became one of my all time favorite short stories.
All throughout, you'll catch tid-bits of the Cthulhu tainted world the characters live in. The "commercials" at the beginning of each chapter are funny and horrific.
The fact that this audiobook is free blows my mind... Not that I'm complaining, but its better than ones I've paid for.
I'd say, "keep up the good work, Neil Gaiman..." but I don't think its necessary, since every thing he puts imagination to is amazing. Anybody who can turn the Swampthing comic into a literary work of art is clearly gifted.
"But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?" --H.P. Lovecraft
I did not know anything about the author, and I was doubtful if I would like this story, but it was free! It was breaking two of my rules, first the author was reading the story, and he was English, which general meant I would not be able to understand him easily and the second, my sacred love of Sherlock Holmes: do not even think of improving on this character's presences in my mind!
The author was just amazing! Proving to me my two rules to be ridiculous and left me wanting more! I have not purchased anymore of his works, but that is just because I want them all and have not figured out where to start yet. However, start I surely will.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
Love Nel Gaiman. This is a tiny bit of his that is so worthy. Fun, tied into Lovecraft, and completely unexpected. Enjoy!
this was a great short story, reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. Niel Gaiman is a great author and a great narrator. I was amazed at how much character development was achieved in such a short amount of time. I could (and have) listen to this story over and over again! Neil Gaiman is a favorite.
Wish I had known I had it already in another book before wasting a purchase. I like the story and performance very much however.
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