Tag: Sherlock Holmes

Audio Drama Review: The Trial of Sherlock Holmes

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes finds Sherlock Holmes whisked away to a secret courtroom and forced to answer to charges of being a public menace and is forced to relive three little known cases.

This is a more comedic take on Holmes and Watson. Essentially in less than an hour, we’re given three remembered mysteries and the framing story about the trial which is itself a mystery and we’ve got a lot of comedy mixed in.

The acting is broad but decent. The five-member cast play their ensemble roles well and make all of their characters quite distinct. The writing is fine. While I knew from the start, there was something wrong with the judge, I didn’t figure out until 2/3 of the way through what he might be up to. The story explores the idea that Holmes’ rivals (aka detectives who sprang up soon after him) emerged during the time he was presumed dead after “The Final Problem.”

The story and its comedy veers towards the silly, and has its hits and misses. So the stories are mostly off-beat.

That said, doing a Sherlock Holmes comedy is hard. I’ve heard some awful attempts and by comparison, this isn’t half-bad. It’s unremarkable but it’s relatively short, occasionally funny, and a relatively pain-free listen. If you’d like to hear a silly Sherlock Holmes comedy that isn’t truly horrible, this might be worth trying.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

The story can be downloaded for free from the Wireless Theatre Company

 

 

Audio Drama Review: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (BBC)

There have been multiple books as well as an American audio series from Jim French Productions released under the name, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This BBC version was a little late to the party airing between 2002 and 2010 on BBC Radio 4, but is certainly a memorable take.

The sixteen episodes (eapproximately 45 minutes in length) eac tell a Holmes story based on some reference in an original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story. The last story, released in 2010 was a two-episode story that harkened to a previous Further Adventure.

Each of the stories is written by Bert Coules, who does a great job capturing the spirit and feel of Victorian times. Given their release date, there’s very little revisionism to suit modern fancies and tastes.

The soundscape is minimal but sufficient for capturing the Victorian era. The supporting actors are really superb, boasting a very solid professional cast. I’m no expert on British Television but Mark Gatiss, Siobhan Redmond, Stuart Milligan, and Tom Baker (Doctor Who actor who also played Sherlock Holmes) were all names I recognized. Even those I didn’t know gave compelling performances.

I will admit it took me a while to settle in on Clive Merrison’s Holmes. While he had appeared in adaptions of all the classic stories, I’d not listened to them. Still, I think he does do a good job with his own take on the character, which is  true to tradition and I’ll have to seek out more of his work.

Most of these stories are quite solid although I have my favorites. “The Savior of Cripplegate Square” is a great listen due to Tom Baker’s superb guest performance and the way Holmes as a young detective finding his way. I also quite enjoyed “The Abergavenny Murder”  is an unusual case because it mostly is Holmes and Watson (played by radio legend Andrew Sachs) trying to solve the death of a man who died at 221B Baker Street before the police arrive. Other than “the client” being heard briefly, the play is just Holmes and Watson and is a great opportunity to examine how they work together as well as a bit of their personal relationships.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the original Doyle stories and want to hear stories in a similar style performed by a top flight cast and crew, this product is a much listen.

Rating; 4.5 out of 5

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Video Theater 183: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Winthrop Legend

Sherlock Holmes is called in by a brother who fears his brother will die as a result of a family legend.

Season 1, Episode 7

Original Air Date: November 24, 1954

Video Theater 172: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Pennsylvania Gun

Holmes sets out to solve the murder of a wealthy man killed in a castle. 

Season 1, Episode 3

Original Air Date: November 1, 1954

Video Theater 170: Sherlock Holmes: The Christmas Pudding

A serial killer threatens to get Holmes before he’s executed. Episode 23 of the 1954-55 Sherlock Holmes series.

Original Air Date: April 4, 1955

EP2955: Sherlock Holmes: The Speckled Band (Listener’s Choice Standard Division #2)

A woman turns to Holmes as she suspects her sister was murdered by her stepfather and she’s afraid that she’ll be next.

Original Air Date: November 12, 1945

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Book Review: Night Watch

Note: A version of this review originally appeared in 2009:

What would happen if the immortal detectives, Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown met with a brutal murder to solve?

This is the fascinating question posed by Rev. Stephen Kendrick’s 2001 Book, Night Watch. The plot of the story is that Sherlock’s Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, the British’s government’s most indispensable man as Sherlock Holmes described him, calls his younger brother in to investigate a murder. The rector of an Anglican Church is found dead in his church, with his body mutilated. The prime suspects: leaders of the world’s major religions who’d gathered in Britain for some inter-religious dialog. Father Brown is serving as an interpreter for a visiting Italian Cardinal.

The murder and its solution are fantastic. However, the story is dragged down because of some errors in Kendrick’s writing mechanics and also because Kendrick’s story was frequently derailed from the story to Kendrick’s religious agenda. In part, the book was written to back up Kendrick’s assertions in Holy Clues: The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes which seems to suggest that in Holmes later days in became someone who could best be described as “spiritual and not religious.” Unfortunately, the author seemed to work too hard on this angle, which distracted from the main point that readers who weren’t enthusiasts of Universalism picked the book up the for: a murder mystery.

Kendrick’s treatment of Holmes, Watson, and Brown was good, but in places uneven. I found some of the conversations between Holmes and Watson not entirely believable and out of place in a mystery novel. Kendrick’s Holmes was a cut below Doyle’s in solving the case, and Kendrick tried a cheap out by simply saying that Doctor Watson’s accounts had been exaggerated or unrealistic. To be fair, Kendrick is hardly the first author of a Holmes pastiche to use that out. What Arthur Conan Doyle created in Holmes was a bit of a mental Superman, and like Superman, it’s very hard to come up with a worthy opponent for him. So, it’s far easier to move the character closer to reality.

His portrayal of Brown, while not having the flair of G.K. Chesterton, and leaving the character a little flat was still essentially the same orthodox Catholic priest that readers have come to know and love. Given that Kendrick, as a Unitarian Universalist, comes from a completely different theological perspective than Chesterton, he deserves to be commended for not trying to tamper with the character, as some interpretations have tried to change Brown into their vision of what a Christian should be rather than the character Chesterton created.

Of course, in a two-detective story, one detective usually draws the short straw, and Brown clearly has the back seat to Holmes. However, in Chesterton’s books, Brown off hung around in the background until coming forward to the solution to the crime.

Kendrick’s deserves credit for the audacity of it all. He’s the first author I know of to try and bring these giants of detecting onto the same stage. And he produces an interesting, albeit not completely satisfying tome. Here’s hoping that others will follow Kendrick, and this isn’t the last Holmes-Father Brown crossover we see.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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