'Holmes, you are too late'.
This tragic and disquieting line depicting the end
of Mr. John Openshaw at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan sums up most of
this outstanding volume of stories read by that inimitable David Timson.
It is indeed a pleasure for fans of the legendary sleuth to know that
Naxos are slowly trailing through the Doyle canon with such a talented
portrayal at the helm. David Timson's voice is sharp as Holmes, conservative
as Watson, deep in ruffians, high pitched with women, a whole plethora
of characters are heard with almost effortless mastery by this born
In fact, two of my favorite Holmes stories are included
here and I can safely and happily state that both come up fully to my
expectations, especially the sensationally sinister 'Five Orange Pips'.
The famous and devastating importance of 'A Scandal in Bohemia' is beautifully
read by Timson who imparts a delightfully American like accent to Ms
Irene Adler. Her ingenuity and remarkable sense of anticipation leaves
us all marveled, not the least Holmes and the dispirited Bohemian King.
Another singular and capital case is the one devoted
to that sinister episode of 'The Engineer's Thumb'. Timson makes a remarkable
Mr Hatherly and the limpid Germanic tones of Colonel Lysander Stark
reveal a dastardly and ultimate ruthless villain. We are transported
to rural Bedfordshire and that bleak house where fuller's earth was
supposed to be pressed with the chilling narrative revealing some singular
escapades by the young engineer.
As stated beforehand, my favorite is 'The Five Orange
Pips' where a terrifying web of crime and retribution based in America
comes to British shores and kills innocent victims, unaware of some
terrible secret left by ancestors. Timson is obviously in his element
narrating these events and Moeran's string music is delightful accompaniment.
Finally we have 'Silver Blaze' where Holmes' uncanny
cunning and super sleuth gifts are put to profound tests in solving
a corpse and a vanished horse. There is much to enjoy here and now I
wait for classics such as 'The Adventure of the dancing Men' and 'The
Final Problem' before too long (one hopes). In the meantime I shall
watch my mail and hope not to receive any orange pips in the post! I
definitely won't put my papers on the sundial!