A few months ago I wrote about my appreciation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories, and especially about the audiobook readings by the incomparable David Ian Davies. I lamented that there was no complete, downloadable audiobook collection of the entire series of Conan Doyle Holmes stories (called by Sherlockians “The Canon”) in unabridged form. A bit later I was fortunate enough to get contacted by Mr. Davies about doing some art for a new collection he and One Voice Recordings were doing of the complete Canon in just such a format, called “One Voice Chronological: The Consummate Holmes Canon“. I did a little spot illustration which his graphics crew did a little Warhol-like work on for the virtual covers of the collection. Here are the first few:
There will be nine in all, with the complete unabridged recording of all 56 short stories. I am happy to say the first of the audiobook collection is available for download at Audible.com. One Voice Chronological: The Consummate Holmes Canon, Collection 1 (Unabridged) contains the first six short stories in the order in which they appear in the first collected Holmes book ” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes“. The stories are: “A Scandal in Bohemia“, “The Red-headed League“, “A Case of Identity“, “The Bascombe Valley Mystery“, “The Five Orange Pips” and “The Man with the Twisted Lip“.
The first two Holmes stories, which were complete novels titled “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of the Four” will hopefully be available also by Mr. Davies in the near future. The remainder of the collections of short stories will be showing up on Audible.com in the next week or so.
I’ve listened to a number of narrators read the Holmes stories, and while they all bring their own take to the characters the readings of David are truly remarkable. It’s hard to believe these voices are all coming from one person. He infuses each character with it’s own distinct sound and personality, while effortlessly switching between the complex accents of the different areas of England, which can vary greatly over even short geographical distances and among the different classes. I also like that he reads the books as written, and does not attempt to update the language for today’s listeners to more easily understand. For example, in “The Red-headed League“, I have heard the word “rubber” changed in some readings to “card game”, as that is a more understandable modern term. Where’s the flavor of the Victorian era in that?? David keeps the Victorian terms intact, and reads all with a flourish that captures the timelessness of the tales. His Dr. Watson is particularly wonderful.
I can’t recommend these recorded stories highly enough. If you’ve never read the Holmes stories and decide to give them a try (reading or by listening to these marvelous recordings) then I envy you. Get ready to marvel at the power of deduction versus the most perplexing of crimes, and adventure by gaslight in the foggy streets of London.
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