Yes, he did it. Stephen Fry narrated all of Sherlock Holmes canon plus a personal prologue for each and every book. This is a total of 9 books, 72 hours, all in one pretty little package available for one measly audible credit. Plus a free 30 minute Audible Sessions interview where he’s talking about his experience recording both this and the Harry Potter series.
If you, like me, love a good Sherlock Holmes adaptation (or any adaptation) but never actually got around to reading the original books, this is your chance.
Plus, as I’ve already stated in an earlier review, I would listen to Stephen Fry reciting the phone book.
I will be reviewing each of the books as separate books, despite them being all bundled together as one big audible file, because 72 hours people. They can be bought as separate books: that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Now on with this first book…
Although this was not the first published Sherock Holmes novel, it is chronologically the first of Holmes’ and Watson’s adventures. It starts by detailing their meeting, and how they come to share the flat on 221b Baker St. Holmes is then contacted to consult on a mysterious case and brings Watson with him to the crime scene.
The case in question is that of a man, found dead in an empty house with no wounds or markings on his body, a lit candle and the word Rache written in blood on the wall, and nothing but a small woman’s wedding ring left behind as a clue.
I really enjoyed the first part of the novel. The introduction of the characters, the presentation of the mystery, following (or trailing behind) Holmes’ trail of thought and the way he finds logic where none appears to be found is really interesting. Also, I find that I also like the characters. They’re fun and interesting.
It was however very odd when suddenly, just after Holmes had apprehended the culprit, but before any of it had been explained, part 2 started with no explanation whatsoever.
Up until then, the novel had been narrated by Dr. Watson, and suddenly, a third-person narrator starts on people walking through the desert in the US? I was confused, and actually thought I had accidently changed books. It takes so long I had to go to wikipedia and make sure this really was supposed to be part of the novel.
Anyway, I have to say I did not enjoy the little trip around memory lane. I’m not sure what it was that bugged me, but I found the whole ordeal to be unnecessarily drawn out and the portrait of the Mormons to be rather prejudiced. I don’t know, I just didn’t care what happened to Lucy, or Hope, or the father for that matter – so for me it was just too much detail which would have easily been more interesting if the story was recounted by one of the characters rather than having us live through it. To be very honest, none of the people in that room could have know half of what went on in the little flashback, so why did it matter in the first place?
It becomes engaging again once we’re back to present time and Sherlock is tying up loose ends, but I found the ending to be, for the lack of a better word, lukewarm. I cannot give this more than 3 stars, unfortunately. But I’m still intrigued by the detective and will most definitely continue on with my journey.
See you soon with a review of The Sign of Four.