Audio Drama Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Voice of Treason

Sherlock Holmes: The Voice of Treason is an Audible original Audio Drama written by George Mann and Cavan Scott and starring Nicholas Boulton as Sherlock Holmes and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Doctor Watson.

Holmes is called in when Queen Victoria disappears from her rooms, threatening the stability of the British Empire. Can Holmes unravel the mysteries surrounding the royal household, and find the Queen and save her?

This is a very involved piece. Both Holmes and Watson are solidly cast. Holdbrook-Smith does seem a little a bit too into the buffoonish takes on Watson at times, though I think that’s more an issue of the script than anything else. The supporting cast is solid from the top to bottom, which is saying something, because this has such a huge cast of characters, with not many cases of doubling up. The sound design is also well put together and does a great job of recreating the feel of the late Victorian era.

What made me nervous about the release was the time of it – eight hours. That’s very long for an audio drama. I wondered if we’d get a GraphicAudio-style story with a lot of narration in-scenes, as if a novel is re-enacted word-for-word.

It wasn’t that. Mann and Scott are both talented writers and their core story is actually a compelling mystery with some very good twists included. It’s a story where you’d best be patient, because it can seem like they’re not being true to the characters, but it does come out mostly right in the end. Yet, eight hours is a long time. It’s enough for around three Big Finish Sherlock Holmes box sets or sixteen episodes of the Jim French Productions Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and not all that time is well spent. The plot can be a bit over-complicated at times, and include such diversions as a card game featuring radical labor leaders, an estranged relative, etc. The story starts out really slow, with events that are only tangential to the main plot. While all these are not bad, they feel very much like padding. The story could have lost two to three hours of runtime while still maintaining its core story and being better-paced.

Still, if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan out for a long car ride, or who has a series of long commutes, this is not a bad listen. There’s a really compelling story at the heart of it and if you’re in for a more relaxed and leisurely pace to your adventure, this could be a worthwhile listen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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