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4Aug/140

EP1329: Pursuit: Pursuit of the Night Ferry

Ben Wright
Peter Black, Moffet, and another policeman are on board a night train after a tip was sent of a potential robbery.

Original Air Date: November 20, 1951

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2Aug/140

Top 12 Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part Two

We continue our countdown of the top 12 Sherlock Holmes stories. (See: Part One.)

7) The Scandal in Bohemia (1891)

A case that Holmes was mastered in. It’s a clever and satisfying story about Holmes attempt to obtain incriminating leters and a photograph that could compromise the King of Bohemia and his upcoming wedding. The story plays off of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” but takes the story in a different direction. The result is a very bold short story, particularly as a choice to lead off the first Sherlock Holmes short story collection.

6) The Adventure of the Six Napoleons (1904)

This is a story that illustrates what sets Sherlock Holmes apart from the Scotland Yard. It’s not just that he finds the right answers.  It's that he asks the right questions. When a series of burglaries occur involving busts of Napoleon, Scotland Yard concludes that its the work of a monomaniac and sets about finding him but Holmes sees the puzzle of why he’s smashing the busts to be an open question and that leads to a different investigation. Also, I really like the tribute Inspector Lestrade pays to Holmes at the end of the story. It says a lot about Holmes and how his relationship has develop with Scotland Yard over the prior two decades.

5) The Speckled Band (1892)

This was actually Doyle’s favorite of his stories and there’s plenty of iconic moments. The mystery and the solution to it are the stuff of nightmares. It’s a story with a lot of suspense and a thrilling conclusion. I also love Dr. Grimesby Roylott’s take on Holmes, “Holmes the meddler. Holmes the busybody. Holmes the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office.” It’s a classic scene of a man trying in vain to deflect Sherlock Holmes with invective and antics. Roylott makes for a fantastic villain and that makes this a particularly enjoyable read.

4) The Silver Blaze (1892)

Sherlock Holmes’ search for a missing race horse seems seems a simple enough problem at first with a mysterious stranger having been seen in the area on the night the horse disappeared, and its trainer was killed. The solution is far different than we imagined and is extremely clever. This is a wonderfully constructed mystery and was the only Holmes story cited by Father Brown creator G.K. Chesterton in his essay on how to write detective fiction. This is also a story where Holmes solves the case  with a nice dramatic flourish, withholding the solution to Watson, the owner, and Inspector Gregory until the day of the big race.

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2Aug/140

EP1328: Police Headquarters: Frame Up and Death of a Mystery Writer

A police Captain's son is charged with murder in, "Frame Up."

A mystery writer is killed before finishing his long-running serial in, "Death of a Mystery Writer."

Original Air Date: Episodes (38 and 39)

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1Aug/140

EP1327: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Suntan Oil Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny investigates the disappearance of a necklace owned by the wife of an oil man trying to hang on to his young wife.

Original Air Date: March 10, 1957

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31Jul/140

EP1326: Nick Carter: The Vanishing Postman

Lon Clark

After a car accident, Nick happens on a leather bag belonging to a postman who disappeared seven years ago.

Original Air Date: August 26, 1945

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30Jul/140

EP1325: Phillip Marlowe: The Black Halo

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe looks for a woman who works for a major perfume company.

Original Air Date: January 15, 1949

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29Jul/141

EP1324: Pat Novak for Hire: Give Envelope to John St. John

Jack Webb

A dying man gives Novak an envelope with the mission to deliver it to John St. John.

Original Air Date: May 22, 1949

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28Jul/140

EP1323: Pursuit: Pursuit and the Man Who Died Late

Ben Wright
Inspector Black is presented with a case of a man who appeared to died from assault but was actually shot-months before he died.

Original Air Date: October 2, 1951

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26Jul/140

EP1322: Police Headquarters: Old Cop and Stolen Brain

An elderly soon to be retired police officer investigates the theft of $190,000 in cash in "Old Cop."

And the brain of a dead brilliant scientist is stolen and $100,000 in insurance money is at stake in, "Stolen Brain."

Episodes 36 and 37 (1932)

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26Jul/140

The Top 12 Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part One

The Sherlock Holmes stories are remarkable. While there have been some innovators in the detective genre in past 90 years or so that have added new wrinkles and and twists to the genre, Doyle’s work stands up as must-read for serious mystery fans.

There were countless genius detectives solving crimes, but none are loved or revered like Sherlock Holmes. While there were a few stories that didn’t work and some people read struggle with the Victorian setting, the Sherlock Holmes canon of fifty-six short stories and four novels has stood the test of time remarkably well. Which of them are the best?

Over the next three weeks, I’ll post my list of the top twelve Sherlock Holmes’ stories:

12) The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (1892):

This is one of the definitive holiday detective stories. This murderless mystery is a great puzzle that begins simply enough after a man lost his hat and a Christmas goose.  It really starts with what seems like an incident that seems like it should be beneath the notice of the great Sherlock Holmes but is really a fascinating puzzle. Doyle shows that while some mysteries involve sensational or salacious details, it’s not always necessary. I also love how the ending is both consistent with Holmes’ character and appropriate for the spirit of the Season.

11) The Devil’s Foot (1910):

The story tells of Holmes and Watson visiting Cornwall for a rest. However, Holmes  is pulled into investigating a mysterious death and insanity that afflicted a family. It is a haunting and chilling story that manages to merge the right elements of horror and the detective story. Great atmosphere throughout and a satisfying resolution makes this a winning story.

10) The Empty House (1903)

Sherlock Holmes was a character not even his creator could kill off. The “Empty House” is a wonderful story that tells us what really happened when Holmes faced Moriarty in, "The Final Problem" and then sets Holmes against the deadly Colonel Sebastian Moran. This was a great story to welcome Sherlock Holmes back to literary life.

9) The Adventure of the Naval Treaty (1893):

A truly engaging mystery. It manages to have major stakes with British national security, while also present a more personal problem for a young diplomat for whom the disappearance of this treaty has cast a shadow over his career. The story is engaging with some great clues, a great conclusion, and Holmes wrapping it all up with a theatrical flourish.

8) The Problem of Thor Bridge (1922)

This story of a seemingly sweet and benevolent governess facing a charge for murder is one of the best of the later Sherlock Holmes stories. The "Problem of Thor Bridge"  is engaging and the solution is classic. While many 1920s Holmes stories are disliked by fans and critics alike, this one is a true gem.

Continued Next week...

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