Category Archives: Audiobooks

Audiobook: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read by Derek Jacobi

Series: Sherlock Holmes #3
Publisher:
BBC Audio
Time:
11 hours 7 minutes (unabridged)
Format: Audible Download – Short Story Collection

Story:
Narration:

Scandal, treachery and crime are rife in Old London Town. A king blackmailed by his mistress, dark dealings in opium dens, stolen jewels, a missing bride – these are cases so fiendishly complex that only Sherlock Holmes would dare to investigate.

Story:

For anyone new to Sherlock Holmes this is really the place to start. Doyle finally hits his stride with this collection of short stories. It’s a format that suits both the characters and the mysteries far better than the slightly drawn-out novels (with the exception of The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is ace) and has the blessed relief of absolutely no obscenely long and involved story within a stories. It’s also, from memory, the most solid of the short story collections as a whole – Memoirs containing a couple of duds and later collections a little bit lackluster in comparison – even so, it’s a mixed bag. On second reading (or rather listening) there were stories I liked rather less than on my first read, but none that I actively dislike. Continue reading

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Audiobook: The Sign of the Four, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read by Derek Jacobi

Series: Sherlock Holmes #2
Publisher:
BBC Audio
Time:
4 hours 50 minutes (unabridged)
Format: Audible Download – Novel

Story:
Narration:

The great detective’s melancholy mood is lifted by the arrival of attractive Mary Morstan at 221B Baker Street. Mary’s father vanished ten years ago. Four years later she began to receive, annually, a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. The duo are confronted with a case that includes a wronged woman, a wooden-legged ruffian, hidden treasure, and a love affair.

Audible Product Description

Story:

A much more satisfying read/listen than A Study in Scarlet and one that seems to have learnt from the truly dire mistake of that story. Whilst there is a flashback here to the antagonist’s past and the motivations for his actions, it’s a lot shorter told as a confession – with all the bias and slant to be expected in first person narration – and fits in almost seamlessly with the style of the rest of the story. Also in its favour is the fact that the backstory is a lot more interesting in its own right. But there’s a whole mystery to solve before we get to that part so I’ll backtrack towards the beginning.

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Audiobook: A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Read by Derek Jacobi

Series: Sherlock Holmes #1
Publisher:
BBC Audio
Time:
4 hours 41 minutes (unabridged)
Format: Audible Download

Story:
Narration:

A Study in Scarlet introduced the great scientific detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Dr Watson, his friend and chronicler, to the reading public. This novel, a cornerstone in the annals of crime fiction, tells of their first meeting and how they set up in rooms together in baker Street. It is not long before the charismatic sleuth and his faithful companion are plunged into a dramatic mystery which starts with the discovery of a corpse in a deserted house and the letters RACHE scrawled on the wall in blood.

From the Collector’s Library Edition

Originally named A Tangled Skein, this is the first Sherlock Holmes story. The real strength and the unique quality of the novel lies in the introduction of Holmes and Watson to each other – and those dark early scenes when a corpse is discovered in a derelict house in southeast London. The ultimate crusader against crime and criminals, Holmes’ genius is revealed here for the very first time.

Audible product description

Story:

Well, the blurb puts it a lot better and a much more concisely than I was going to; praising the truly brilliant parts of the novel while tacitly admitting that the rest of the story, once it moves away from the Holmes/Watson relationship, simply isn’t very good.

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Audiobook: Dracula, Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Read by Greg Wise and Saskia Reeves

Series: Standalone
Publisher:
BBC Audio
Time:
18 hours, 24 minutes (unabridged)
Format: Audible Download

Story:
Narration:

‘Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window’

 A chilling masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also illuminated dark corners of Victorian sexuality. When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to advise Count Dracula on a London home, he makes a horrifying discovery. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the arrival of his ‘Master’, while a determined group of adversaries prepares to face the terrifying Count.

From the Penguin English Library Edition

Story:

If I was reviewing objectively there is no way Dracula would get 5 stars. Love it as I do, it’s got some glaring flaws. The reason Dracula is regarded as a ‘classic’ isn’t because it’s a literary masterpiece on par with the greats – it’s really not – but because it’s really good at what it is, a crowd-pleasing horror, and because it helped create the popularity and features of the ‘modern vampire’. Thankfully however book reviewing is all about opinions and I can be as unobjective as I want. Continue reading

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Audiobook: Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling: Books 1-7 (UK)

Harry Potter: Books 1-7 by J.K. Rowling
Read by Stephen Fry (UK version)

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Time: 124 hours, 56 minutes (unabridged)
Format: CD (103 disks)

Story:
Narration: (4.9)

This is J.K. Rowling’s complete internationally bestselling “Harry Potter” series brilliantly brought to life by Stephen Fry. From Harry’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to his final battle with arch-enemy Voldemort, listen to the seven spellbinding novels in the “Harry Potter series”, read by Stephen Fry.

Well, I suppose with a series like Harry Potter you don’t need an inspiring blurb… even when your product costs a ridiculous £400 at full price.  Before people start having heart attacks no I did not pay £400 for an audiobook set – I’m a very broke student – I went the cheat’s route and borrowed them from the library and put them on iTunes. Yeah, I know, it’s bad but that’s what library’s are for – to give access to books to people who can’t afford them. And now that I’ve got through the series (how they expect anyone to get through just one of the later books in the time allotted to library loans anyway I do not know!) I will promptly delete them from iTunes before I start to feel like an actual thief. In my defense my family totally already paid for the first half already – back when cars had cassette players instead of CDs. Continue reading

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