What is the secret of the shocking death of poor Enid's sister, whose dying words were, "the speckled band?" Only Holmes can find the answer and save a helpless girl from certain death in The Speckled Band.
When Holmes retired, it created a financial crisis for his friend Watson, who owes money to mobsters who want either their cash or his blood. The surprising upshot is: Ghastly Double Murder in Famed Detective's Flat, a one-act comedy by producer-director Yuri Rasovsky, here receiving its audiobook premiere.
(P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Rasovsky combines a talented cast, spot-on sound effects, and a rich musical score to achieve a stunning audio production. Every character, every cast member, every special effect, and every note of music merits applause." (AudioFile)
I feel the first segments of these productions were a bit disappointing.Not the fault of the actors,who perform their parts with sufficient skill,nor of the production itself,which shows itself as an assembly of loving craft. I think ultimatly its Conan Doyle himself that must be blamed for this:the need to expand his audience and the lure of money probably tempted him to rehash old plots for a quick buck.Forgivable:these arepleasant productions but not deep.
However,the REAL gem of this mix,unlike the previous review had mentioned was the last "comedy".If you have read all the old short stories and are very familiar with the characters,you'll definatly savor the dialogue here.It begins with Holmes and Watson trying to converse civilly enough,but it escalates into the delightfully vicious bile spitting only old friends can indulge in.And it gets WEIRD.Buy this collection just for the happy catfight and twisted twist ending.
There are actually three separate productions in this audiobook. I'm not a Holmes purist, but I have enjoyed many of the original stories in their various incarnations, and I'm especially fond of the Jeremy Brett TV series and the BBC audios of the original stories.
The first story presented here, "Sherlock Holmes", is a fun story with many similarities to "A Scandal in Bohemia" - only this time, Sherlock gets the girl. I've seen a stage production, which I loved, and this audio version brought back very good memories. Except for the odd note at the end (Sherlock kissing a woman?!) it's a real winner.
The second production, an adaptation of "The Speckled Band", has a lot more Victorian melodrama than I remember from the story (or the TV version I've seen), but it's not bad.
Both of these are well acted by a talented cast.
The third production, "Ghastly Double Murder in Famed Detectives Flat", is billed as a comedy. I gave up on it after the first 10 minutes or so. I found it so far from the spirit of the orignial characters that I couldn't finish it. I gather it's supposed to be a satire or parody - I didn't find it funny.
We usually love anything Holmes, but this production can't maintain either the Holmes-Watson legacy or expectation for a new rendition. The script is convoluted and difficult to follow, the actors seem to be trying a bit too hard. I know a reading is disappointing when no one complains about switching it off mid-way through. If you are looking for "more" Holmes, try Caleb Carr, The Italian Secretary. It is a five-star listen.
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