Tag Archives: sherlock holmes

Outside the Spotlight by Sophie Weeks

Outside the Spotlight by Sophie Weeks: Isabella, who stars in a French Christmas carol, lives in a land of all things Christmas: every song, story, poem, and legend about this holiday coexists in one place. However, after several centuries she’s grown tired of her monotonous existence and decides to vacation in the land of Mystery, where she meets the famous Sherlock Holmes. There are some strange philosophical issues raised here, but suffice it to say that these characters know they are characters but they remain fairly autonomous nonetheless. Many writers talking about how their characters often will do things they don’t expect, and this sort of takes that to the next level. Sherlock’s presence is slightly gratuitous, but it remains a very fun story, especially delightful to anyone who’s ever dabbled in writing fiction.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (unabridged audiobook read by Ralph Cosham): I’ve read a fair number of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but this was the first novel-length one I’ve picked up. Holmes is called in to get to the bottom of the death of a man connected to a family legend of a hellhound. Holmes and Watson of course do not believe in the supernatural, and their methodical tying up of all the loose threads is fascinating, particularly considering this was written in a time before fingerprinting and DNA evidence. I suppose there are those who do not enjoy having every single minute detail explained, but to me that’s what delights me most about Holmes stories: he loves to explain how he came to every single one of his seemingly random deductions. I especially like Holmes’s childlike enthusiasm when faced with a challenge: the more difficult it is, the more he enjoys himself. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of this story, however, is how much of it is solved by Watson on his own. Evidently his many years as Holmes’s companion have rubbed off on him. My husband has a huge tome o’ Holmes on our bookshelf; I may have to read more of it.

A note on the audio version: Cosham’s reading of The Time Machine was a major reason I got into Wells in the first place, and this is no exception. He doesn’t do distinct character voices, but he makes up for that with engaging narrative style.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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