The Fiends of New York City is Big Finish’s latest three-hour Sherlock Holmes release, starring Nicholas Briggs as Holmes and Richard Earl as Watson. It’s set after Watson’s latest marriage to an American actress and after the events of The Seamstress of Peckham Rye. (See: my review here.)
The story proper begins when a man claiming to be an American detective arrives on Holmes’s doorstep with an incredible story. However, he and the object of his pursuit disappear, and Holmes and Watson are beset with more troubles and mysteries, including the return of the elusive Seamstress of Peckham Rye.
The Fiends of New York City is an enjoyable ride through late Victorian London, with a lot of complex twists and plot turns. For the first two parts, the story may be the best we’ve seen from writer Jonathan Barnes, who has written many great Holmes releases. The sound design and acting are impeccable.
Yet, the final part, and in particular, the ending, is a bit frustrating. The core mystery is given a resolution and we’re told that certain things are likely to happen to certain people and Mycroft Holmes and the Seamstress of Peckaham Rye and maybe Sherlock Holmes are all playing games, but we have no idea what the endgame of any of this is. Given that this was cited as a conclusion to the previous release, the ending feels like an anti-climax, in the same way that The Seamstress of Peckham Rye was. While I was fine with that ending, repeating the trick multiple times leads to diminishing return, particularly without a clear indication that the story is going to be more fully resolved.
I can hope that these issues will be sorted out by the end of a future story, but it is frustrating to reach the end of a three-hour audio drama and feel no closer to understanding anything important going on with these characters than when you first started. This is a shame because apart from the weak ending, this was a very entertaining release.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
The Fiends of New York City is available from Big Finish.