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The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (unabridged audiobook read by David Timson; 4.5 hrs on 4 discs): This second novel of Holmes’s adventures is a tale of stolen treasure, betrayal, and of course murder. Holmes is his usual self, driving the police absolutely mad with just how right he is all the time. One of the things that most captivates me about Sherlock Holmes’s detective work is that it all takes place before the advent of fingerprinting. There are so many inferences he would never need to make today if he could show who touched what. Anyway, back to the story. The plot was pleasantly complex. Watson’s romance was adorable. My favorite part, though, was when the pair found themselves on the wrong trail and suddenly burst into laughter. While I certainly enjoy witnessing Holmes’s amazing (and often unlikely) feats of deduction and inference, its his friendship with Watson that truly makes the stories come alive.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (unabridged audiobook read by David Timson; 4 hrs 45 min on 4 discs): I confess, I was mostly interested in reading this after seeing the episode of the new BBC series Sherlock inspired by it, “A Study in Pink”. (And then I promptly re-watched the episode and understood a whole bunch more of the jokes.) The first part is fairly straightforward, starting with the meeting of Holmes and Watson and following through a couple of murder investigations that appear to be linked. Once they’ve caught the criminal, there’s a huge shift in narrative and suddenly we’re in Utah with evil Mormons. It was almost too random to be offensive, really. This turns out to be the backstory and motive of the killer, but it takes a while before that’s evident. I am hesitant to offer this up as a good introduction to Sherlock Holmes, since it is so dated, but the mystery part of it is actually quite fun. Definitely going to have to pick up some more of Holmes’s adventures.

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