Unexplained events are happening at Oxford these days. Several students have been attacked at night by some strange form of wild animal. It can scale walls with cat-like agility. Its arms are as thin and as strong as steel bands. And there is one student who conducts midnight studies in his room with certain Egyptian artifacts. The most significant of which is a 6'7" tall mummy.
Public Domain (P)2009 B.J. Harrison
I got this as I love Arthur Conan Doyle, but this was completely ruined by the choice of narrator. Why pick an American to narrate a story set in England with British characters? He doesn't even try to do a British accent. Rubbish and utterly disappointed.
Lovely short story, well executed, good pacing and characterisation. However, the start of the audiobook is a spoiler, so skip to where the story actually begins at 1:40. (a modern audience will still deduce the "spoiler" quickly as it's a common theme these days, but still it's a bit irritating to have it so blatant in the first seconds before the story has even begun)
Lot No 249 is, perhaps, my favorite story. I love it, and the style in which it is written. And this is a good reading of it. However... I think the performance of the same story by Doug Bradley on Doug Bradley's Spine Chillers Vol. 5 is, honestly, quite a bit better. And, you also get a few other good tales in that collection.
So if you're ONLY looking for Lot 249, this is a good choice (although, given the crazy low price, I'd save your credit and just buy it). But if you're a fan of weird fiction in general, I'd suggest getting this in the above mentioned collection.
"What Sir Arthur Actually Wanted You to Read"
Imagine having a sensationally successful literary creation—a figure that even today remains the most famous of all fictional detectives—and yet wanting to be rid of the fellow. It’s like trying to imagine P. G. Wodehouse bumping off Jeeves. But when, as you probably already know, Conan Doyle threw Holmes and Moriarty into the Reichenbach Falls a despondent reading public demanded that Holmes return. And so he did.
Not having dipped to any extent into Conan Doyle’s other works—the stuff he was probably referring to when he said that Holmes, “takes my mind from better things”—I was curious to hear what those better things were like. Not wanting to jump feet first into a larger time commitment (say, The White Company, a historical novel that clocks in at some 15 hours) I was glad to find “Lot No. 249” at 1 hour 18 minutes (and $0.73).
It’s a nice little spine-tingler. Old hat now, of course; reanimated mummies are the stuff of a thousand B-movies. But I always get a kick out of seeing how a genre began (listening to the full cycle of the Holmes/Watson stories, Stoker's Dracula or Shelly's Frankenstein gave the same pleasure). I was curious to see how Conan Doyle would play this particular hand. I was prepared to be indulgent, to sit back and enjoy. And I did. Thoroughly.
I’ve read other reviews calling J. B. Harrison’s performances “adequate”; I’d rate this one a few rungs higher. He’s no Patrick Tull or Simon Vance, but he gives each character in the all-male cast a distinctive voice that accords with the personality Conan Doyle assigns him. And he puts the tale across with vim. And vim is what it requires.
The usual Holmesian-Victorian atmosphere prevails; good men who live by an unspoken but universally accepted code are repulsed by the nefarious doings of men less upright than themselves. The East is mysterious, exotic and suggestively dangerous. The West is, especially as this story takes place at a fictional Oxford college, a mix of solid, ivy-covered Gothic (with an understated patina of Christianity) and keen scientific rationalism (again, much like the Holmes/Watson sagas). Though misguided, the assumed divide between faith and reason was a common piece of mental furniture in Victorian/Edwardian England (the young Winston Churchill reconciled the supposed breach by simply accepting the claims of each within their respective spheres). And it’s a noxious weed that thrives even more luxuriantly today. But I digress.
At $0.73 you really can’t go wrong. I used Lot No. 249 as a lighter, less demanding palette cleanser after a longish Dickensian trek and it worked wonderfully.
"Loved it! Great little Halloween story!"
I really enjoyed both the story and performance of this book. It was really a pretty quick listen, and I couldn't "put it down" so to speak.
I really enjoyed the performance. Good pacing. Good accents. Well produced.
The story itself was fun too. Just enough Sherlock Holmes in it to make it a bit of a sleuthing novel, but enough of the netherworld to make it a fun Halloween book. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
"For Fans of Old Horror Flicks"
As a Boomer, I remember how much I loved the old black & white horror flicks as a kid... The Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, & THE MUMMY! If you loved them too, this is right up your alley...a scary, dark alley where you're walking quite alone, & deep shadows are keeping pace with you...just beyond the corners of your eyes. Listening to Sir Arthur's tale, for me, was just like watching The Mummy again. His descriptive scenes & well-formed plot created a movie behind my eyes every bit as good as the movie!
MM... Jade Dragon
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