Doyle ended up writing four novels and 56 short stories featuring Holmes and his companion, Dr. Watson. All but four are told in the first person by Watson, two by Holmes, and two are written in the third person. Together, this series of beautifully written Victorian literature has sold more copies than any other books in the English language, with the exceptions of the Bible and Shakespeare.
Volume 1 in this series consists of two novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four, followed by a collection of short stories entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
(P)2009 Audio Connoisseur
I don't want to overstate my problem with this, because not everybody will be so fussy - but I cannot *stand* the choice of an American narrator.
It's not that the guy reading it is 'bad at his job'. Not at all. If I were to find him the narrator of an American novel, I expect he might be excellent. But because he's not British, a). his accents are slightly off, and b). he mispronounces certain words in a way that really, really jars.
For instance; "lab-ra-tory". I'm sorry, but a physician in Victorian England would have pronounced it, "lab-ora-tory". "Enth-oo-siasm" should be sounded, "enth-yoo-siasm". And when the narrator attempts to 'gentrify' certain words, he changes the vowels inappropriately - yes, "bath" becomes "barth", but "fancy" does not become "farncy". That's all within the first three minutes.
If you're as finickity as I am, it's intolerable. I couldn't get past the first quarter of an hour. All that said, the stories are great so, if you're not fussed by such things, feel free to ignore me. I'm stunned, though, that nobody has reported this already...
The actor is seriously miscast. He not only cannot sustain an English accent but pronounces words in ways that do not exist in any spoken version of English that I know of. The most prominent and annoying of these is that he pronounces the 'l' in Holmes (and in 'folk'). Deeply disappointing, as I bought all the volumes of the short stories.
Oh thank you, thank you to the other reviewers. I thought it was just me! There has to be a problem when the sounding of those missplaced 'l's in Holmes actually make me flinch. I love these stories and the narrator made a good effort but why? Don't tell me there wasn't a single actual english actor to read these oh so english books! Hovering undecided over the buy button for volume two.
I found the narrator's different accents irritating. When listening to stories I go off into my own little bubble of imagination, picturing the characters, but this narrator's accents would pop that bubble.
Wonderful to get back to the originals after the various films, tv series and books and compare the character of Conan Doyle's Holmes and Watson with the numerous alternatives offered today. I bought all three but am deeply frustrated at the choice of narrator. I gave up on the attempt to list the numerous everyday words which jarred, but above all he pronounces the central character 'Hawlms' instead of 'Homes' which grates on the ears over and over and over.
It's too late for me, and I will listen to them all (gritting my teeth) but please, Audible, consider redoing them?
I found the accent of the narrator irritating, but I never thought he was American. I thought he was doing Historically Informed Performance with authentic late Victorian vowels: Dorg for dog, orficer for officer and meek for make. That was irritating, although probably no more corny than the stories themselves. But doing women and children in falsetto is really off putting. The cockney accents are overdone.
But no worse than Dick Van Dyke's valiant and famous attempts at cockney in Mary Poppins.
The two novels (Study in Scarlet and Sign of Four) are not a patch on the short stories once Doyle had got into his stride.
It is soooo easy to make this a success- the stories are well established and successful, but the choice of narrator is atrocious. Think American trying to do an Anglo/Indian accent with a heavy cockney leaning plus a smattering of 1930's BBC announcer. It would be better if he had stuck to his US accent instead of making too cringing to listen. Has made me want to look in to refunds/returns to Audible for the first time in three years' membership.
I adore these stories, so wonderfully written. I would recommend these books to anyone. The English language at it's literary best. However, this book misses a 5 star rating based purely on the narrator. Conan-Doyle's Holmes demands a native English speaker. Whilst this is one of the better English accents I've heard from an American, there is some laughable pronunciation 'orff' (off) and 'lorng' (long) 'parssenger' etc etc.
But, all in all the writing is strong enough to withstand this onslaught. It greatly depends on how particular you are about these things... If you want these stories in all their glory, then the only narrator is Derek Jacobi.
Lots of other reviews mention the annoying habit of the narrator mispronouncing some of the quintessentially English words. I thought I would find this equally annoying. However, I was able to get past this and lose myself in the plots and dialogue between Holmes and Watson. The recording is some 20 hours long and once I was into the collection, the mispronunciations faded into inconsequence. Great value for money for your "credit" too. However, with so many marvellous British voices to choose from, the question is why did they choose an American? That being said, for Holmes fans who can listen to the book whilst picturing Basil Rathbone in his distinctive coat and deerstalker, you won't be disappointed.
The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes is a very good book and this narration is as well as the it was expexted, very close to the book so is very easy to follow the book while listening, making this audiobook a very good option for those who are learning English and need to practice but also for those who enjoy hearing well-tell stories.
The only but is that sometimes the speed of the narration is a little bit fast.
The only problem I have with this series is that I am awaiting the next episode with impatience! I bought this after much comparing, I wanted a voice I could enjoy, one who could do a variety of voices, and a series that didn't end up costing a lot, as I intend to own every story. This is value for money, and worth the wait. The only improvement possible is a multiple cast, but I chose cost over that.
Well done! and thanks for getting back to me - there will be three volumes when finished, and the second is ready and due to be offered for download any time now.
"Wish there was a list of titles"
I really enjoyed listening to this collection of Sherlock Holes stories. I just wish there was an easy to find list of the stories for reference The narration was fantastic. The short stories were a nice length; I often listened to them on the way to work. Each story contained an individual plot/case yet there were many times references to previous cases, providing a connection between stories. It was interesting to see the Holmes and Watson characters develop throughout the collection.
I started listening to this collection because of the Sherlock TV show produced by BBC. The show was great and surprisingly fits with the classic stories quite well.
"a list of what you'll find in Volume 1"
A Study in Scarlet (novel; 1887)
The Sign of the Four (novel; 1890)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (short stories, published in The Strand between July, 1891 and December, 1892):
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Five Orange Pips
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
From what I can tell from a quick internet search, Volume 1 of this audiobook covers the Holmes cannon faithfully from the first. I'm eager to start Volume 2 to see if the coverage will be as comprehensive.
I liked Charlton Griffin's Sherlock and Dr. Watson, but I didn't like his portrayal of any of the female characters (they sounded so wimpy and foolish, even when they were written otherwise).
I read several of the short stories, out of order, years ago. Listening to this audiobook to "read" the cannon from start to finish is great because I can follow the character development of Homles and Watson, and their relationship.
"Reason you've heard of Sherlock Holmes"
There's a reason you've heard of Sherlock Holmes before ever cracking a page or hearing the narration.
These stories are great, things explained and you're never left in the dark as to what is happening.
That was my biggest fear with mystery novels, that I never knew what was going on till the very end explanation.
This Audio book narrator is TOP notch, I don't think I've heard any better, and only a few on the same level.
This is absolutely worth getting without a doubt! A voice for every character and they all come to life.
"Loved this Narration!"
If you are an audiobook addict as I am, you will probably agree that a mediocre narrator can make a fantastic book awful and a mediocre book un-“readable.” I did not find Charlton Griffin’s performance at all mediocre! I love all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and enjoyed every hour of this narration.
"Stories that are Universal, Timeless, & Elementary"
I gave this four stars, but that is a little unfair. I probably need to break it down a little better. ACD's first couple novellas (Study in Scarlet; Sign of Four) were interesting but just didn't hold together well. I could easily deduce what Doyle was trying to do with Study in Scarlet, but he just didn't pull it off (3 stars). Sign of Four was a tad better fit for Doyle (3.5 stars), but still not quite up to my expectations.
ACD's true form is the short story. His longer pieces just don't hold up quite as well as Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (5 stars). ACD is a master of the short story. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has very few duds. It is clear that not only was Doyle breaking new ground, but he absolutely pwned the form (and would for the next century). It is rare to find a literary work that sold so well initially (the Strand sold Holmes like crazy) and still appears relevant and popular today (from t.v. shows like Sherlock to Bones). That is the brilliance of Doyle's detective stories: they are universal, they are timeless, and they are -- elementary.
Griffin does a fantastic job at bringing Holmes to life.
"A Towering Delight...And a Pair of Small Caveats"
“I made a blunder, my dear Watson. Which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs.”
Holmes makes this comment at the beginning of the second series of these marvelous recordings. But it applies to the first series as well, of course. Having only known Holmes at an even farther remove than Watson’s memoirs—via movies and TV—it is a revelation to meet the real Holmes, blunders and all, regardless of his quibbles about the good doctor’s literary efforts.
Like reading Ian Flemming’s Bond novels only after steeping oneself in the movies (yes, I made that mistake too), we discover a far more human, cantankerous and fragile person than is revealed even in Jeremy Brett’s masterful performances. And it was a great treat to finally learn how Holmes and Watson were originally thrown together. Like ham and eggs or rum and Coke, theirs is an association so long established and so seemingly natural that we forget they had to have had a first meeting.
About stories that have stood the test of popular opinion as well as these, leaving the reading public consistently agog since their first appearance 126 years ago, nothing need be said. The character of Holmes seems an apogee of High Victorianism: a complete faith in science, progress and the power of rationalism, totally devoid of that other trait we associate with late 19th Century England, sentimentalism. Against this sheer cliff of cold deduction, we flounder along with Doctor Watson, ensnared in conclusions we leap at too quickly and obvious facts we too blithely overlook and a sentimentalism that leads us to do odd things like fall in love and get married. Watson has his moments too, bringing his specialized medical knowledge to bear on wounds and poisons, but he’s usually as in the dark as you or me. Ultimately, I’d rather be like Watson than Holmes—convenient that, since I already am—but Holmes is still fascinating to watch.
And in these recordings he’s fascinating to listen to as well. Without sounding like Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett, Charlton Griffin gives us a distinct and vibrant Holmes. His milder, self-deprecating Watson is perfect, as is all the supporting cast except the female characters. Someone else has mentioned that Griffin’s women sound idiotic. While I wouldn’t go quite that far, they do sound a bit too helpless and simple.
Another quibble: the American side of “A Study in Scarlet”, the second part of which takes place among the Mormons of Utah, is something of a challenge for Griffin. True, Conan Doyle’s writing slips off the track here as well—it sounds as if he’s writing about a country and a people he’s only known through stereotypes and hearsay. But Griffin’s wild-west accents only make it worse.
But these are minor points when set against an otherwise masterful performance. Beginning the second series, I seem to detect the women sounding a little brighter, too. Thanks to Audible for making these available and giving me the chance, as with The Count of Monte Cristo and Don Quixote, to catch up on the classics I sidestepped in my callow youth.
What a great way to experience the genius at Baker Street! The narration was well done, and the adventures were as compelling as I remember.
"Too many mistakes"
These are great stories that have stood the test of time and work well in the audiobook format.
I have great admiration for the actors who read these audiobooks and can produce a range of accents and never get them mixed up. So I am willing to forgive a few lapses in this regard. However, the frequency of missed accents and mispronunciations did detract from my enjoyment of the book. There were occasions where it was clear that the reader did not comprehend the words he was reading. For example, "bowing" with a violin bow not bending from the waist; "a propos" and "in situ" mispronounced; "house' and "horse" getting mixed up - and many more.
"The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes"
Very delightful to listen to, the stories are well read.
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