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Publisher's Summary

Alluding to both the Sherlock Holmes canon and the Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos, this Hugo Award-winning short story will delight fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft, and of course, Neil Gaiman.

A Study in Emerald draws listeners in through carefully revealed details as a consulting detective and his narrator friend solve the mystery of a murdered German noble. But with its subtle allusions and surprise ending, this mystery hints that the real fun in solving this case lies in imagining all the details that Gaiman doesn't reveal, and challenges listeners to be detectives themselves.

©2006 Neil Gaiman; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo winner, Best Short Story, 2004

What members say

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  • Overall

Listen Well

This story is brilliant, and subtle. It's a real treat! It's even worth re-listening to, because you will certainly miss some fantastical points the first time through. If you've listened to Sherlock Holmes stories before, don't let yourself get lulled into the familiar patterns of speech and characters -- keep sharp! You'll be glad you paid attention! If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Gaiman pays great homage to two amazing authors, and leaves his own patent mark, too. Buy it! You won't regret it!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jf
  • montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 05-12-08

come again?

What a nice retelling of a classic: comfortable yet unnerving. It's like putting an old pair of slippers and noticing how warm and fuzzy they are still and then noticing that you just put your feet in 2 spider nests...


10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 03-22-13

Ready to start it over again

My love of Holmes and my growing admiration for Gaiman led me to choose this fantastic short story. I must confess to being at a slight disadvantage in my appreciation of the tale because I am not familiar with Lovecraft's writings, being only an occasional visitor to the sci-fi genre. However, I was delighted at both the story and (as always) Gaiman's performance, and my first instinct as it ended was to start it right back at the beginning, because I am certain I missed some details the first time through. Loved the "advertisements" at the beginning of the chapters, although I suspect my ignorance of Lovecraft obscured the meaning of some of them.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Willard
  • natchez, MS, USA
  • 01-23-08

And with strange aeons even death may die..

This story is great. The homage to H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle is wonderfully done.

Its amazing how the story draws you in and, at a point, has you siding with the ancient evil that has taken hold of the world. The surprising identity of the main character flips your entire perspective of the story as you realize who the "bad guys" really are. The story is masterfully crafted, but this twist sealed the deal for me. It instantly became one of my all time favorite short stories.

All throughout, you'll catch tid-bits of the Cthulhu tainted world the characters live in. The "commercials" at the beginning of each chapter are funny and horrific.

The fact that this audiobook is free blows my mind... Not that I'm complaining, but its better than ones I've paid for.

I'd say, "keep up the good work, Neil Gaiman..." but I don't think its necessary, since every thing he puts imagination to is amazing. Anybody who can turn the Swampthing comic into a literary work of art is clearly gifted.

"But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?" --H.P. Lovecraft

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 06-16-12

Gaiman pays tribute to Sherlock and Lovecraft

A Study in Emerald is a Hugo and Locus Award winning short story by Neil Gaiman in which he pays tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle???s Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft???s Cthulhu Mythos.

At first Gaiman???s story appears to be a straight Sherlock Holmes pastiche as a man who appears to be Watson relates how his new friend, a consulting detective who appears to be Holmes, is being asked by Inspector Lestrade to help solve a murder mystery. In fact, it completely parallels Doyle???s first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet,which gets its name from Holmes??? comment that the murder scene is ???a study in scarlet.???

You probably know where I???m going with this. There are a few clues that Gaiman???s world is not the England we know (e.g., it???s referred to by its ancient name of Albion), but we???re left in no doubt when this murder scene is ???a study in emerald.??? Still, though, Gaiman only hints at what this alternate England is like, and the fact that he never tells us much is part of the charm of this story. Then, when the narrator and detective solve the case and call the Inspector in to arrest their criminal, Gaiman throws us a delightful twist that will have Sherlock???s fans grinning.

I listened to Neil Gaiman narrate the audio version of A Study in Emerald which is 49 minutes long and is available at Audible for $3 for members and $4 for non-members. I always enjoy hearing Gaiman read his own stories. If you???d prefer to read this story in print, you can find a free pdf version that reads like a Victorian newspaper at Neil Gaiman???s website.
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 12-25-10

Just a tidbit of the genius of NG

While I give this book a 5 star rating, it is not because it is one of my personal favorite Neil Gaiman pieces; it is not. Dubliners is not my favorite James Joyce. Both, however, are examples of wonderful writing that clearly stand out among the common fair. My favorite NG includes Graveyard Book and Stardust. Both completely different from A Study in Emerald but still of the same literary excellence.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lifesavr
  • 599 Spruce Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95407
  • 12-19-07

What a jewel!

I did not know anything about the author, and I was doubtful if I would like this story, but it was free! It was breaking two of my rules, first the author was reading the story, and he was English, which general meant I would not be able to understand him easily and the second, my sacred love of Sherlock Holmes: do not even think of improving on this character's presences in my mind!

The author was just amazing! Proving to me my two rules to be ridiculous and left me wanting more! I have not purchased anymore of his works, but that is just because I want them all and have not figured out where to start yet. However, start I surely will.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ruth
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-26-12


Would you consider the audio edition of A Study in Emerald to be better than the print version?

.... as usual. Just what you should expect from Gaiman. Flawless reading and plotting. A perfect story that just wraps you up and carries you along.

What about Neil Gaiman’s performance did you like?

What sets Gaiman's reading apart from the usual cast of actors who so audio tracks is the simple ease with which he reads. He's not just reading the story, he's telling it, but he does it so well that he manages to not become a character himself.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, and I did too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the best Freebies on Audible

Cthulu + Holmes = 45 minutes of superlative listening.

If you like Lovecraft and Conan-Doyle, you must read this. Gaiman has done an admirable job of honouring both of these author's styles in this short story. If you've not read Call of Cthulu, I suggest that you do. It's eminently creepy and worthwhile, plus it will make this story even better.

Excellent, excellent twist at the end. I think it's Gaiman's very best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I admit I'm biased: I love both Holmes stories and Gaiman. Still, this is a great tale, and Gaiman is a great reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful