Saturday, January 18, 2014

Revisiting Holmes: The Fourth Collection

His Last Bow, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unabridged audio.  

This short story collection features a nice range of stories, some that I remember reading before (The Bruce Partington Plans), and some that I have no memory of (The Red Circle and the Cardboard Box).

After failing to kill off his famous creation, Doyle does tease his readers with stories that speak of Holmes' death, with stories titled "The Dying Detective" and "His Last Bow." But we learn in these "reminisces" that Holmes is alive and well. The retired detective is living as a beekeeper, a plot thread that Lauri R King picks up in her "Mary Russell" series of novels.

I mentioned the range of stories, and that is a strength of this collection. We are in London and out of London, solving small family mysteries and saving Britain from an espionage scheme. I love this variety, and it keeps the stories from being repetitive.

There is a bit of meta-textuality here, which Doyle may not have intended. But Holmes meets Inspector Baines, who is both a fan of Holmes and of his methods. This indicates that in-world, maybe the police are learning from Holmes, which we know actually happened in the real world.

Source: Unabridged audio via LibriVox, and BooksShouldBeFree.Com, a site that records audio of public domain books. Despite the "amateur" status of the recording, the audio quality and narration is very strong. Surprisingly strong, as a matter of fact.

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