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2Mar/140

EP1196s: Richard Diamond: The Fifty Thousand Dollar Diamond Heist

Dick Powell

Diamond is given a package to deliver to Philadelphia and finds $10,000 in diamonds stolen from the commissioner's house.

Original Air Date: November 12, 1949

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1Mar/140

EP1196: The Line Up: Once Upon a Snow Plow

William Johnstone
Guthrie finds himself on the trail of a serial killer A year after a woman is murdered during  a blizzard, another young woman dies in a similar storm in the exact same way.

Rehearsal of program that aired January 9, 1953

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1Mar/140

Audio Drama Review: Doctor Who: The Highlanders

Just like the first of the Second Doctor episodes of Doctor Who, only the audio remains for the second serial, "The Highlanders."

In The Highlanders, the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) and his companions Ben and Polly find themselves caught in the midst of a war between the British red coats and the Scottish highlanders.  The Doctor and his companions have to escape from the British and get back to the TARDIS while also thwarting the plot of a corrupt government barrister who plans to ship captured Scots to brutal slavery on Carribean Islands.

This story isn't as good as Power of the Daleks, but it definitely is worth a listen. This serial features some great comic scenes for Troughton and the Doctor certainly shows some cleverness in this tightly plotted story.  This was actually a surprisingly strong story for Polly who in two previous stories I've seen/heard her in, her role was limited to making coffee as serving as a hostage. In this case, she's the one member of the TARDIS not captured and key to their rescue.

This serial was noteworthy for a couple other reasons. After about a third of the First Doctor stories were historicals, Troughton wanted to get away from them, so this would be the last purely historical Dr. Who episode until 1982. Also, this episode introduced the character of Jamie McCrimmon (Frazier Hines) who appeared in more Doctor Who episodes than any other companion.

Overall, this is a historic serial with plenty of fun, swashbuckling action, and the introduction of a great companion in Jamie, so it's definitely worth a listen.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

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28Feb/140

EP1195: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Kranesburg Matter, Part Four and Five

Bob Bailey

With Smiley Prell dead, Johnny has to look elsewhere in the case of $50,000 in missing jewels.

Original Air Date: August 30 and 31, 1956

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27Feb/140

EP1194: Nick Carter: Murder Goes to College

Lon Clark
Nick Carter investigates the death of a college student at a all-woman college that was classed as suicide. Nick quickly discovers its murder and sets out to find the killer.

Original Air Date: December 24, 1944

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26Feb/140

EP1193: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Kranesburg Matter, Parts Two and Three

Bob Bailey

With the jewel thief getting nervous, Johnny investigates the mysterious Krane Family.

Original Air Dates: August 28 and 29, 1956

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25Feb/140

EP1192: Casebook of Gregory Hood: South of the Border

Gale Gordon

Gregory Hood arrives in Mexico City to purchase jade and is mistaken for a wayward king.

Original Air Date: July 15, 1946

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24Feb/140

EP1191: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Kranesburg Matter, Parts 1 and 1A

Bob Bailey

Johnny goes to make a deal with a jewel thief who has stolen from a family with old money.

Original Air Dates: August 24 and 27, 1956

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24Feb/140

Book Review: The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

This book is the proverbial mixed bag. There are some stories in the book that are essential reading for Holmes fans (The Problem at Thor Bridge and the Sussex Vampire), and then there are some of the weakest stories in the Canon (The Lion's Mane, the Blanched Soldier, and the Veiled Lodger), and then others that range between average to fairly good.

"The Problem at Thor Bridge" is simply one of Holmes best cases. There's so much in the story and the solution is classic. The same thing goes for the Sussex Vampire which presents Holmes a problem that's evocative of the supernatural but with a surprising natural solution that is pretty emotional in its own right.

Most of the worst stories came towards the end of the book. Both "The Blanched Soldier" and "The Lion's Mane"  were attempts to tell Holmes' adventures from Holmes own perspective. While "The Blanched Soldier" was slightly better of the two, both stories were somewhat dry and uninteresting tales that it was hard to care about. "The Veiled Lodgers" biggest failing is that Holmes really does nothing. He describes a mystery and then has one of the perpetrators tell him what happened. While Holmes did say something very wise in response to that, it wasn't really a detective story.

Looking at the rest of the series:

"The Mazarin Stone": Told in third person, I actually thought it was a pretty fun story showing Holmes cleverness. It was a similar story to the Dying Detective, but I liked this story better.

"The Creeping Man": This is a bizarre story and I know some people really don't like it because it's almost into the realm of speculative fiction, but I thought it was carried off fine and is a classic mix of horror and the detective genre, though good luck trying to guess as to what's happening.

"The Three Garidebs": This is once again a story that calls to mind previous adventures. In it, a man with an unusual last name stands to make a fortune just for having his last name, but he brings in Holmes to discern the truth of the business. This story is not as good as "The Red Headed League" but is actually better than "The Stockbroker's Clerk."

"The Illustrious Client": This isn't a whodunit but a challenge for Holmes to stop the marriage of a naive woman to a scoundrel. This is a very well-executed story where Holmes is put to the test against a clever adversary who is a master at manipulating the sympathy of women.

"The Three Gables": This story of a bereaved mother receiving mysterious offers to buy her house is a very good and enjoyable story with a satisfying solution.

"The Retired Colourman": This is actually a pretty enjoyable story though Holmes doesn't seem as warm towards Watson in a few places. The solution is a good change of pace, if perhaps a bit melodramatic.

"Shoscombe Old Place": The last Holmes story by Doyle and its solid. Its clearly not at the high quality of Doyle's prime but Holmes gets a pretty engaging case with a clever and unexpected solution revolving around a race horse and the odd behavior of the lady of the manor.

Overall, this is a must for mystery fans even if Doyle is clearly past his prime as a writer in this one.

Let me add that this Oxford edition I read really was splendid and added to the reading experience. The explanatory notes section was helpful to me reading this as an American in the 21st century, as it gave meaning to so many phrases that I'd have just glossed over or imagined what they meant otherwise. There's also a copious amount of introductory information that provides some great background on the book and is a great resource if you can get a hold of it.

Rating 4.0 out of 5.0

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23Feb/140

EP1190s: Rocky Jordan: Man from Damascus

Jack Moyles

Rocky receives money and a command to appear from a mysterious bandaged man from Damascus.

Original Air Date: June 12, 1949

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