Hello once again to my readers! I thought after my return to the worlds of Andy Weir I would step in at 221B Baker Street and see how Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson have been doing since I last discussed them in my review of The Merchant Of Menace by Richard T. Ryan last year. I have reviewed several Sherlock Holmes related releases and it feels good to discuss the famous pair of detective and chronicler once again.
This time around however I will be reviewing a modern collection of Holmes pastiche short stories which aim to match or echo the Conan Doyle originals. Jayantinka Ganguly (hereafter referred to as the author for simplicity) is a famous Indian Sherlockian who – among her many accomplishments – is the editor and general secretary for The Sherlock Holmes Society of India, the first Indian member of The Baker Street Irregulars, a member of several international Holmes societies and the Chair of the Fiction and Poetry Committee of the newly formed ACD Society as well as a practicing corporate lawyer.
The following audio collection is a baker’s dozen of the author’s short stories published between 2015 and 2020 in numerous anthologies including The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories series by MX Publishing who also released this collection and its audio version. I actually have to confess I helped get this Continuum published through Kickstarter and have a physical copy in my collection alongside this audio one but my review will still be as fair as always. The stories included won’t be discussed in great detail in this review to avoid spoiling the solutions but I will give a sampling of some of the stories included.
The stories in this collection are indeed varied ranging from the tale of an Indian Princess on the run, the story of a Scottish ghost who haunts the husbands of pregnant women and an sequel story of sorts to Conan Doyle’s The Five Orange Pips to a mystery involving healthy men supposedly dropping dead from divine punishment! You can’t claim these are vanilla Holmes mysteries to say the least!
Holmes and Watson both feel accurate in spirit to the original versions, with Watson a clearly knowledgeable medical doctor putting forth attempts at plausible solutions to the mysteries and sharing Conan Doyle’s Watson’s fondness for and occasional frustration at Lestrade. Holmes also is on fine form with many solutions that sparkle and his fair share of post case doldrums. Both men are written well as are the frequently appearing Mycroft and the occasional showing for Mrs Hudson and Lestrade. The original characters also appear with interesting conundrums for Holmes and the reader or listener to puzzle out. There are a couple where the solution doesn’t take too much calculation or where I enjoyed the plots less than others but on the whole this collection is full of well written mysteries worthy of the famous pair.
The narration for this release is performed by a Kevin E. Green. Mr Green is a frequent narrator with a history of narrating both Sherlock Holmes mysteries and various different fantasy series and what I suppose could be termed a selection of ‘bodice rippers.’ His narration is definitely enjoyable with a calm classic feel to it. His Sherlock actually reminds me to some degree of Basil Rathbone albeit a more formal version or one who sounds somewhat less of a Hollywood Englishman. And I say all the above with love for Rathbone and company. Green’s Watson comes across as much more personable than Holmes as should be expected of a medical doctor. Lestrade on the other hand seems to have an attempt at a more regional or cockney accent. If Green succeeds or not is definitely all in the ear of the listener. The narration in general is relaxing and makes for entertaining listening throughout. I can definitely understand the praise this release has received thus far and I do definitely recommend it to my readers who enjoy a good whodunnit or classic Holmesian mystery.
In conclusion A Continuum of Sherlock Holmes Stories is definitely a release I would recommend considering if you are in the mood for some 221B cases over this winter period. You might not love every story among these thirteen but it is certainly a stronger collection of Holmes mysteries than some I’ve reviewed in the past. I will certainly be keeping an ear out for anything by Ganguly in future.