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.
"Ripping good yarns"
Wonderful piece of pulp writing of the highest order. Here's hoping Newman dives back into this world in the future
"A wondeful concept executed brilliantly"
While Moriarty only actually showed up for a few pages in the Holmes stories, his impact as a villain resonates just as strongly today. Kim Newman took the idea that he really was the inverse of Holmes in being a Consulting Criminal and, in that mirror world, Moriarty's Watson is his paid murderer Sebastian Moran. Just like Watson did with Holmes, Moran chronicles Moriarty's "adventures", albeit in secret in hopes of one day being to sell them off. The entire adventure is framed with the "found memoirs" format associated with the Flashman books, which is a nice touch. I will admit that most of the references to other novels went over my head but the few I did catch only enhanced the story by placing it in part of a bigger literary universe. I'm sure that Holmes fans will get a big kick out of it in the very least by trying to catch all the references. The adventure-per-chapter structure means you can listen to this in pieces and not lose the overall narrative, and Tom Hodgkins is pretty much spot-on in his delivery of the material.
Wonderfully read version of one of my favourite books. Takes the existing stories and literary characters and portrays them in a consistent but fabulous new environment. Fabulously funny and delightfully odd this audio book is a delight from start to finish.
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...
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