Imagine the twisted evil twins of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and you have the dangerous duo of Professor James Moriarty - wily, snake-like, fiercely intelligent, terrifyingly unpredictable - and Colonel Sebastian Basher Moran - violent, politically incorrect, debauched. Together they run London crime, owning police and criminals alike. When a certain Irene Adler turns up on their doorstep with a proposition, neither man is able to resist.
An entertaining and wickedly humorous crime adventure from the best-selling author of Anno Dracula.
©2011 Kim Newman (P)2011 Audible Ltd
"It's witty, often hilarious stuff. The author portrays the scurrilous flipside of Holmes's civil ordered world, pokes fun at 'guest stars' from contemporary novels and ventures into more outre territory than Conan Doyle even dared." (Financial Times)
"Kim Newman has done something really audacious with Conan Doyle's criminal genius.... The notion of reinventing Moriarty and Moran as malign dopplegangers of Holmes and Watson may have been done before, but not with the firecracker exuberance that Newman brings to it." (Independent)
This work employs the plot devices and style of the Flashman stories in all respects but date of writing. A modern Doyle cover can be a lot of fun. There are several authors in your collection who out- Doyle Doyle. What is the point of out- MacDonald Fraser-ing MacDonald Fraser? This work is too close a shave. I am exhausted and and left pining for the real thing -- Flashman.
The idea behind the novel is actually kind of neat; you see a lot of similar-yet-different stories from Moriarty's and Moran's points of view. The execution is rather poor. I understand that the novel is set in the 1800s and certain opinions and prejudices were considered acceptable during that time... but the book was published within the past few years. CERTAINLY the author could have come up with a more creative way of telling these stories than relying upon racial, ethnic, and sexual slurs. The prologue discusses the fact that there is an abundance of profanity, but then to keep the profanity in the novel with letters blanked out, especially for words that are ridiculously unnecessary (C--T? really?), is absurd. I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan and I was utterly disappointed by this novel. Not worth your credit unless you enjoy repeatedly hearing about how only white British men are intelligent and know how to keep proper hygiene.
As a fan of both Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories and many of the newer stories written by other writers since, I found this to be a brilliant interpretation of Holmes's famous nemesis. Although presented as a series of short stories this is really a novel in episodic form. Moran is a compelling narrator and Tom Hodgkins realises him brilliantly, his cynicism and misanthropy make for a great love-to-hate Flashmanesque caricature.
Newman does an excellent job of riffing on many of the great Holmes stories, while at the same time avoiding the trap of formulaically sticking to flipped perspective stories by branching our in a number of unexpected directions. My particular favourite is the mars-ian invasion!
"Amusing Literary Mashup"
A lot going on in this book, and a great initial conceit.
A couple of caveats though:
1) You really do need a decent grounding in the existing Holmes books (and a few others of the same period wouldn't hurt).
2) Read it episodically - I went through the whole lot in one run, but by the end I was wishing I'd rationed it out a bit. I hadn't realised this was the way these original stories were delivered in the first place, but it makes sense.
"Excellent from start to finish"
This has to be one of my favourites. This book kept me wanting to come back for more. Each story had enough to keep my attention and still surprised.
The performer did a great job of maintaining the characters feel throughout the story.
Baker street seen from the outside.
I have already bought more Kim Newman books and am looking forward to starting the next. If this book is anything to go by I'll have a happy start to 2014.
Oh Yes!! This is a brilliantly clever riff on the classic Conan Doyle characters! I was a bit doubtful - how could a parody for something that clever be sustained? But that goes to show how I have been cultured into a sketch show - 2/3 minute - understanding of parody and satire...
Newman tackles Conan Doyle at a deeper level, thinking through the historical context and possibility for alternative characters and scenarios in a far more thorough and involved manner. This is masterful stuff.
Well Moriarty obviously...
Hodgkin ran the edge of reading/mimicry beautifully, never getting the tone/characterisation wrong.. Sharp, astutely read
Oh laugh, laugh... sometimes a silent chuckle to oneself, at others a loud bellow of belly laugh to those customers in Boots who had not noticed that lady with earphones...
I MUST hear more Kim Newman, it is turning my understanding of classic English novels upside down!
"The Devil Has The Best...Stories"
I've always rooted for the beleaguered anti-hero. this is a great addition to the Sherlock canon, with the twist being we see things through Moriarty's eyes. The planning and pay-offs are very Sherlock-like but through a mirror darkly.
I have a soft spot for Irene Adler. I like the way she plays men on both sides and the way the BBC series portrayed her, my mental image is set.
Despite this being a long 2-volume set I never grew tired of Mr Hodgkin's story telling. The biggest compliment is that he didn't get in the way of the text. By not drawing attention to himself it allows the listener to immerse themselves in the nefarious activities of Moriarty and Co.
It was a delight to listen to. One that I cherished so that when I was in the car I would sit once I got somewhere just to finish a chapter before getting on with my life.
"Inventive take on Dr Watson's dark reflection"
Kim Newman has done this really well. He clearly knows the Holmes stories inside out and loves them. This really comes across in these "cases" of crimes committed by Moriarty. It's ingenious and imaginative and I really enjoyed the Flashmanesque style of the main character.
Tom Hodgkins narration is perfect for the sardonic, immoral, horribly sexist, violent, self-aggrandising protagonist. So much so that by the end I found myself on his side - just for a moment.
"Amusing, but not a story that I'd come back to..."
Lampooning many different authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells this book purports to be a memoir found in a safety deposit box at a bankrupt London bank. It tells the story of Professor Moriarty, and his henchman, Basher Moran. As it unwinds the two influence many events such as fooling the foremost astronomer of their time, busting a spy ring, and confounding Sherlock Holmes.
This book is largely inoffensive although there is some implied strong language and behaviour. It is an entertaining read, but not one I'll be rushing to listen to again anytime soon. I can only equate this to mental chewing gum; it's not bad, but not going to stimulate any brain cells...
"Unique and Imaginative reworking"
The narration is fantastic. The story told from the point of view of Basher Moran around the exploits of Professor Moriarty, is superb. Kim Newman is successful in making you see familar tale from a whole new perspective.
Fresh and new appoach with each story giving a new fresh twist in the tale.
First time I have come acroos this narrator. However is does a superb job in giving the characters real depth.
The whole book wwas a pleasure to listen to. If you like Sherlock Holmes but you are over familiar with each story then give this a go. See things from the bad guys perspective for a change. You'd be suprised at finding yourself wnting them to win through. It interesting to see the mighty Sherlock Holmes from Professor Moriarty point of view.
"WHAT A LOVEABLE VICTORIAN BOUNDER!"
I've not yet read the print version of this book but the narration is really excellent and captures the devilish mood of the infamous Col. Moran, Moriarty's villainous sidekick.
The listener will obviously want to compare this performance with Sherlock Holmes but although the stories in the performance are wicked variations of Conan Doyle's Holmes cases, the great detective and his sidekick are only mentioned once or twice.
The listener will enjoy all the stories in this performance but my favorite was the "Red Planet League", as it was very funny and pretty leftfield in places.
Overall, I found the stories very funny but flavoured with suspense, some mild horror, dubious morals and sheer inventiveness. A bit like modern day politicians, I suppose!
The happy marriage of an outstanding performance and creative and involving storyline, makes this a great and repeated listen.
This is a nicely judged, amusingly written, gorgeously read work which I very much enjoyed. The humour is sly and cutting but the un-pc unabashed evil of Moriarty & Moran is satisfyingly balanced with a modern sensibility and sense of natural justice. Loved it.
I had to check that it wasn't read by Dominic West; he really sounds like him.
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