A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
While waiting for the next Knit the Classics to start, I've been listening to Sherlock Holmes on PinkGeek Audio. "A Study in Scarlet" is the first of the Holmes adventures, and includes our introduction to Dr. Watson, how he and Holmes first meet and quite a bit of Sherlock's philosophy of detection.
I suppose that I should mark this next bit with SPOILER AHEAD:
Half murder mystery, half penny dreadful Western, the story is an interesting experiment on the author's part. The move from the London crime to the Old West just as Our Heroes have laid their hands on the purported villain is jarring. And I suppose it was intended to be so. By going into the detailed back story or flashback, we learn that the victims are actually the bad guys and the murderer is an 'avenging angel'. The disparate threads are woven back together in the last chapters and the denouement owes to divine, not human, justice in a way that maintains the 'grey' area of if (and when) private revenge is justified.
As far as the Audiobook review, there were a few issues with this version, which was read by Tim Aldrich.
1) The files as they are posted on the site above are out of sequence. If you know that there will be more than nine parts, you should number starting with "01" not "1" so that the file names will sort correctly in a numbered list.
2) The reader had a bad habit of taking a long pause when confronted with unfamiliar vocabulary or a foreign term or name that he was not sure of how to pronounce. I'm not sure if this issue would be best solved by more preparation or better editing, but it WAS quite noticeable.
3) If a reader wants to do the accents, he or she should practice them sufficiently so that Cockney doesn't come out as Hillbilly. On the other hand, the reader's pitching of voice (when not overlaid by a painfully bad accent) to indicate characterization was a lot more successful. A whinny Lastrad, a nasal Drebber, a growling Jefferson Hope - all carried out well.
4) This next issue is due to the book itself. The Chapter breaks and the file breaks did not line up very well. Not a problem if you are listening to the entire story more or less straight though like I was, but if I'd been following along on a printed copy, it would have bothered me more.
5) The good parts - a pleasant reading voice overall, dramatic vocalization without being overdone (except the London accents as noted above). FREE - always a good thing. And he seems to have the complete works up on the site - also good.
Overall, a commendable effort from Mr. Aldrich and I will certainly go back and listen to more Holmes on his site in the future.