© and (P)2002, 2005 BBC Audiobooks LTD
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
Being fairly obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, I often wondered about those obscure references made in the stories, or what happened to the characters once the story ended. Didn't you? If so, listen to Bert Coules' attempt to answer the questions with his own imaginings in this entertaining short selection.
Naturally the stories are not of Conan Doyle caliber. Of course not. I wouldn't expect them to come close. They are diverting specualtions to be enjoyed as such.
The roles are cast well. I enjoyed Clive Merrison as Holmes in the original dramatizations, but found Andrew Sachs a surprising Watson in this series. I really enjoyed him in the role! The supporting actors are just as delightful: the series opens with Timothy West and Eleanor Bron, and we get to hear the incredible Tom Baker in the third. Can't say fairer than that.
I treated myself to all four volumes. The only thing that jarred slightly throughout is the occasional "modernism" in a turn of phrase, or something else that breaks the illusion that we are in old England but that is almost to be expected.
For Holmes trivia fans, these are the springboards for the stories:
"The Madness of Colonel Warburton" was inspired by a reference in "The Engineer's Thumb" (1892); "The Star of the Adelphi" by "The Second Stain" (1904);
"The Savior of Cripplegate Square" by "The Sign of the Four" (1890);
and "The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Wilson" by "The Problem of Thor Bridge" (1922).
I am one of the biggest Holmes fans of this century and I can assure anyone looking at this audio book that its well worth the money. I listen to them at work and even though I'm working in my mind I'm in Victorian London, following the master detective and his companion Dr Watson through the streets of White-chapel and Batter-sea. The ambiance is very well done, and while the stories differ ever so slightly from the originals they are in my opinion done in such a way that they do not detract from the story. Well done BBC!!
The stories, of course, or wonderfully suspenseful. If only Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could have known how beloved his detective would be when he first set pen to paper.
Life, ambiance, music, drama...
The greatest detective of all time
As a Holmes fan who has been through the canon, and enjoys pastiches, these four stories were a joy to listen to. To begin with, they have much of the same team that produced the wonderful Sherlock Holmes radio adaptations, including Clive Merrison as Sherlock Holmes, a role he excels in. Here Bert Coules brings us new stories, based on mentions within the canonical tales. Andrew Sachs ably replaces the late Michael Williams as Dr. Watson. While I prefer Williams, Sachs, along with Merrison and good writing, provides the chemistry between Holmes and Watson that is so crucial to the enjoyment of the listener.
The stories are all solid, if not spectacular, pastiches.
The Madness of Colonel Warburton is good. Involving Holmes in a case involving spiritualism is always fun, given Conan Doyle's interest in the same.
The The Star of the Adelphi is the weakest, but also includes a nod and a wink to the Holmes fan in the play and the author mentioned.
The Saviour of Cripplegate Square brings up a Victorian era practice not too terribly well known about. The connection to the canon comes late, but is all the more effective for it.
The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Watson includes one serious flaw, but it would be a spoiler to mention it. Otherwise it is a good story, and another in which the canonical connection is slipped in late in the day.
In the end, these are not as good as the BBC's canonical productions from the 90's (available on Audible). But the stories are as good as the better Rathbone/Bruce radio shows of the 40's, and the performances are excellent.
Another side note about the cast. For this old punk rock fan, it was fun to find out that the Toyah Wilcox I enjoyed in the 80's plays Miss Gloria Watson of the 4th episode.
"Clever plotlines in the spirit of the original"
These new Sherlock Holmes certainly capture the spirit of the original stories and are beautifully written. There are four dramatised episodes each very well acted and thoroughly enjoyable
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