Prefer the stories on audio but as a completist I had to pick this up and start from the beginning. SoMuchSherlockHolmes. Overall, it's just delightfuPrefer the stories on audio but as a completist I had to pick this up and start from the beginning. SoMuchSherlockHolmes. Overall, it's just delightful to read the original ACD texts. Even when the stories are silly, they're bursting with character insight and famous quotes and moments referenced by modern interpretations I love (the Mary Russell series, the BBC show Sherlock.)
Ongoing review. Slight spoilers. I'm using the standard abbreviations here, because... why wouldn't you. It's so beautifully nerdy.
STUD: What's not to love in this, where it all began! (Except for that pesky middle part that's best left unmentioned. I mean, I knew this was the one with the Mormons, but I had NO IDEA.) SIGN: Oh, Mary. Oh, the colonialist backstory. (I actually missed the Mormons.) But this last exchange breaks my heart.
Adventures SCAN: I think with Irene Adler, less is more, and there's no actress or adaptation that can match the original story. REDH: Hey, it's the Stockbroker's scam again. Does this mean that when I took that data entry temp job someone was trying to get me out of the way while they committed the crime of the century? IDEN: Creepy stepfather is creepy. BOSC: Trope alert! In Which Your Checkered Past Comes Back to Haunt You. FIVE: I like Holmes' revenge scenario, but also the way ACD lets the bad guys get away so often. TWIS: Wow, even I deduced this! And, ooh, the infamous one where John is named James. BLUE: Insert fluffy Christmas tale here. SPEC: Holmes' feat of strength for Watson! It's pretty badass but also I just want to pinch his cheeks. ENGR: All I could think the entire time I was reading this: OUCH. NOBL: ACD's colorful view of America is precious.
Memoirs SILV: There are so many holes in this story, I don't even. But - the dog in the night! YELL: Whoa, A Very Special Story about Racism. Did not see that coming. Also, Holmes is wrong! Also, I would read the stories just for the chummy bits at the beginning. What's an afternoon stroll between intimate friends. STOC: Not a lot of deduction in this one, really. But there is train exposition! Speaking of trains, this is how the story really ends in my brain... GLOR: Aww, Sherlock's only friend! MUSG: Best tidying up ever. REIG: Why is there a Colonel in EVERY STORY? And why is Watson still so gullible? Holmes is such a lovable asshole in this one. He knocked over the table and blamed it on Watson! Cheeky. CROO: The crime is boooooring. At least there are chummy bits. RESI: As befits any respectable superhero, Holmes' overdeveloped sense of moral justice is a little worrying. As long as HE gets the facts, never mind about the truth seeing the light of day. He seems to feel perfectly righteous when granted the power of judge, jury, and executioner. No remorse need apply. (Ha ha, Watson loves being deduced SO MUCH. And the heatwave. *resolutely resists commenting on subtext*) GREE: Mycroooooooooft! The queerest man with the queerest club in London! NAVA: I demand more Watson backstory. Even though Percy is kind of the saddest sad sack ever. FINA: I may have teared up at just the opening lines. Sniff.
HOUN: This is everyone's favorite, right?
Return EMPT: "When you like and where you like." You tell him Watson. The band's back together! NORW: Yay, I love when clients have dramatic entrances. Also, Inder and I roll our eyes at the egregious lack of professional legal ethics in this story. DANC: I should really not be surprised by the fact there there is much scholarly debate over the cipher illustrated here, or that there is an actual dancing man font based on said scholarship. SOLI: Cycling drama!! It makes me want to watch all the adaptations just to stare at the vintage "machines." I have to say I continue to be impressed at ACD's handling of suspense. Despite the formulaic nature of the stories, Holmes' tendency to cut things a bit fine is a convincing character flaw, and you never know how dark a turn the mystery will take because of it. You really see that in these last two stories. And I'm not even going to touch the hints of sexuality in here, btw. I do admit to laughing at the "worst thing that can happen to a woman" reveal, which... PRIO: More bicycles! That's basically all I got out of this one. BLAC: The harpooooooooon! CHAS: "My, it might be a description of Watson!" Heeee. Holmes' plans going awry? Holmes getting away with things? Holmes being cheeky? I'm not sure what I love most. SIXN: This is just a really ripping case. With Holmes and Lestrade being buds but still working in counterpoint to each other. I love all the interrogation monologues.
Casebook ILLU: People just don't throw vitriol like they used to. Also, I wanted to see Watson show off his china expertise! Sure, he was hardly going to convince B. Gruner, but all that cramming for nothing! 3GAB: I tried so hard not to get up in arms about the ugly racist comic relief, because what would be the point. But. Why won't you stop talking about him. And how he looks. And smells. Oh, the 1920s. Wait, there's a case here? Right. Poor Mr. Maberley. And his broken heart. And his 245 page novel of revenge. And the cop that makes fun of it. Ha ha ha. LION: Ooh, the one from Holmes POV. I didn't really have a problem with this, because/in spite of the fact that his voice really isn't that different from Watson's. Mostly... really? You couldn't find a more convincing way for Holmes to stumble upon a case in his retirement? Really? VEIL: Kind of an odd piece, it's all confession with no case. But it works well enough on its own and I'm just glad ACD restrained himself from awkwardly inserting this as a flashback into another story. Worth the price of admission for Watson's threats of blackmail by cormorant. Also when he rhapsodizes about how pretty the bottom of her face is. SHOS: I could say the name of this story all day. Shoscombe Old Place. Shoscombe Old Place. Also, another reference to Watson and his gambling habits! But this case kind of goes everywhere and nowhere. Debt collectors! Fishing! Bones! Mummies! Until all of a sudden the bad guy lives happily ever after. Wha?? RETI: Interesting choice to end Holmes' adventures! It's not the most important of cases, the crime is quite gruesome, and it introduces a new character who could have been recurring. But it's definitely a classic style case compared to others in this collection, especially the ending - an impressive series of deductions from Holmes and all the credit going to the police. And a fine last line: "Some day the true story may be told."...more
I'm generally not a short story reader, so this audio collection seemed like the perfect way to correct that. Enjoying most of them so far, though I'mI'm generally not a short story reader, so this audio collection seemed like the perfect way to correct that. Enjoying most of them so far, though I'm wishing for some commentary about why each story made the cut. Also, I wish this audio wasn't abridged, Hemingway and Joyce Carol Oates among others are crowded out of an already impossible-to-narrow collection....more