Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective in literary history. For the first time since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a new Holmes story has been sanctioned by his estate, whetting the appetites of fans everywhere. Information about the book will be revealed as deliberately as Holmes himself would unravel a knotty case, but best-selling novelist and Holmes expert Anthony Horowitz is sure to bring a compelling, atmospheric story to life. With access to the estate's archives and careful study of the original stories, Horowitz is sure to weave a tale that satisfies new fans as well as the most dedicated Baker Street Irregular.
©2011 Anthony Horowitz (P)2011 Hachette
Derek Jacobi's reading is Outstanding!!
How wonderful the writing was.
Watson was excellent though Sherlock himself wasnt the best
I thought the modern twist was both interesting but also very dark
Excellent edition to the Holmes canon
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Here I was, settling happily into a Holmes tale that gave real promise, when I began to suspect that Anthony Horowitz was going to use the most cliche of Victorian cliches to resolve this mystery. I won't spoil anyone's experience by referring to the ending, but I will say that I was surprised and disappointed that, in 2011, a writer would resort to exploiting a prejudice that may have been common in Victorian England (and certainly in Doyle) but that has no place in the resolution of a novel written today -- especially when so many other Sherlockian avenues were available to him.
In other ways, I enjoyed Horowitz's adherence to the canon and his portrayal of Holmes and Watson and Mycroft. But he does bring a modern sensibility in questioning Holmes' exploitation of street children, for example, and in portraying poor old Lestrade and the police in a better light -- somethings I feel would not have occurred to Doyle. So, I was especially disappointed when he used prejudice to indicate villainy -- a lazy way to resolve what could have been a great book.
Derek Jacobi, as always, does a great job and has a grand old time with the characters.
So, it's a shame...
I've read all of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes and this has to be the story that comes closest in style and formula. In that respect it's quite amazing. However, there's nothing like the real thing and therefore I enjoy when Sherlock Holmes is given new spins. It's a good book, one I would recommend to hard core fans but it falls flat. A part could be due to the narration. The narration could have made the characters more distinctive. Instead it sounded like only one (ok, may 2 with that bad America accent) was part of the book.
As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I found this book to be disappointing on all levels -- the narrator and the story. I respect Derek Jacobi as an actor, but I think him a poor choice as narrator for Sherlock. The voice he chose for Holmes did not suit the charactor and I found it hard to listen to. Female voices were nonexistent -- everything sounded the same. On the story level, I didn't feel that I was listening to a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Sherlock did not behave as I would have expected. Where were the disguises? Where was the infiltration into the criminal network? I am 3/4 into the book and ready to return it -- I can't get past Sherlock Holmes' voice.
All of the Conan Doyle characters are off, inconsistent with their characters in the original stories: Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, Mycroft, Moriarty, even Wiggins. Holmes especially does a number of rash, stupid things, and does little in the way of real investigation.
Plot-wise, there are two mysteries crammed together into one story here. The House of Silk mystery is fairly predictable, with an obvious clue dropped early in the story. The flat hat mystery, the lesser of the two, is more interesting and has a real flavor of the Conan Doyle short stories. The connection between the two is artificial and does not work well.
The framing story, that Watson is writing this old, long-suppressed story in a nursing home sometime after Holmes is found dead of old age on the Sussex Downs, borders on sacrilege for Holmes fans. The idea that the events in the story, especially a sensational murder trial in the middle of the book, were not well known publicly at the time is hard to swallow.
Overall, there is a definite Twenty-First Century sensibility throughout the story that does not fit Holmes's Victorian England. Horowitz tosses in a number of anachronistic phrases throughout the book, and flubs some of the details of the setting. The most glaring of these is Holmes lighting his cigarette on the gasogene, a device mentioned a couple of times by Conan Doyle and which has nothing to do with flame, heat, or anything else that might light a cigarette. Small things, but this is what the game's all about when you write or read a Holmes pastiche.
Jacobi is a fine reader, and I especially liked his reading of I, Claudius. He's not terrible here, but his portrayals of Holmes and Watson did not fit the characters well in my opinion. Of course, he's helped in this by Horowitz, who has them saying and doing things that are out of character for them.
Moriarty. His cameo appearance is senseless and out of character, his action is stupid, and his presence does not impact the plot at all. He seems to be there only because every mass media Holmes story these days includes him, unlike all but one of the Conan Doyle stories.
Also Watson's wife, who, like Moriarty, adds nothing to the plot. Both these characters intrude enough to slow the plot down, then vanish from the story.
It's not all bad. There are times when Horowitz does a good job of reproducing Conan Doyle's style. And the side issue that he raises about the Baker Street Irregulars is interesting. There is a reasonable progression through the story, and it moves along okay, except for a slow beginning where Watson unnecessarily retells the story of his meeting Holmes from A Study in Scarlet, and a couple other patches like that. This would be a decent story without Holmes and company, Unfortunately, as a Holmes story, it largely fails.
I just achieved App Master!! I never thought I would make it this far!! Thanks Audible
Great story,in this book they pull no punches and they hit you with a big ending.It is what you think.wow I think at times it is hard to separate Watson and Holmes voice. Jacobi could have switched it up a little better.....
This ranks as one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.
Enjoyed Horowitz's take on the Holmes canon. The focus is on Watson. We hear more of his thoughts and emotions in this book. It is not just a chronicle of the mystery. Horowitz respects the Conan Doyle stories and fits this tale into the chronology in a reasonable way. There is a nice balance of action and exposition from Watson's point of view that kept me completely engaged.
Derek Jacobi's performance is absolutely top notch. He voices the characters in a completely natural and believable fashion. His narration is never rushed but perfectly paced. He moves between a proper British accent to an American accent to an Irish lilt without missing a beat.
I hope Anthony Horowitz writes more of these and that Derek Jacobi will narrate them. This was an outstanding pairing.
Most post-Conan Doyle Holmes books are deplorably absent of style. They focus on the twists of missed observations and not on the literary bend surronding and supporting Holmes' observations. This book is an exception. Though is is difficult to distinguish between the written words of Anthony Horowitz and the wonderful style of narrator Derek Jacobi, it "feels" like the Watson and, by extension, Holmes of the originator's work. I applaude everyone associated with the production.
A wonderfully written story with a "spot on" intricate plot line that would make Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a happy man. Mr. Horowitz has definately done his homework and made this a totally complete trip down Sherlock Holmes memory lane. Loved it. Highly recommend it. The performance by Derek Jacobi lent itself to the perfect ambiance.
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