In addition to Lyndsay Faye (review opposite), myriad authors have written Sherlock Holmes pastiches that feature the familiar characters, perplexing puzzles, and brilliant
deductions. If Faye’s clever tale makes you yearn for more, sample these diverse Holmes
titles on audio.
The Baker Street Letters. By Michael Robertson.
Read by Simon Vance. 2009. 6.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $90
London lawyers Reggie and Nigel Heath rent offices on
Baker Street and discover they are responsible for answering letters addressed to fictional detective Sherlock
Holmes. How hard could that be? They find out when
they become entangled in a life-threatening case. This
lively series opener, read with confidence and élan, showcases seasoned
narrator Vance’s skill with characters’ accents and voices.
Death Cloud. By Andrew Lane. Read by Dan Weyman.
2011. 7hr. AudioGO, CD, $64.95 (9780792775676).
Meet teenage Sherlock Holmes, who begins to
hone his deduction skills in this series opener. While
spending the summer on his uncle’s estate, he investi-
gates the death of two locals, reportedly victims of the
plague. Weyman adjusts his tone and pacing to reflect
this adventure-filled tale and deftly portrays the clever young detective.
The Fifth Heart. By Dan Simmons. Read by
David Pittu. 2015. 23.5hr. Hachette, CD, $40
Simmons blends historical fact and fiction as American writer Henry James teams up with Sherlock
Holmes to investigate a socialite’s supposed suicide.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg in this entertaining
tale that plays with the Holmes canon. Pittu’s sterling
reading allows listeners to savor every word and delight in both characters
The House of Silk. By Anthony Horowitz. Read by Derek Jacobi.
2011. 10.5hr. Hachette, CD, $29.98 (9781611136890).
As does Faye, Horowitz dips into the infinite trove of “lost”
Holmes stories with one “too shocking” to be published before
Holmes’ death. In his familiar role as Holmes’ Boswell, Watson
relates a fiendish tale of art theft, a London school for homeless
boys, an Irish gang in Boston, and an opium den. Jacobi’s insightful
reading shows the many sides of Holmes, and his steady, kindly
tones reveal Dr. Watson to be a loyal friend.
The Language of Bees. By Laurie R. King. Read by Jenny Ster-
lin. 2009. 16hr. Recorded Books, CD, $123.75 (9781436128926).
King’s popular reimagining of Sherlock Holmes—retired and
married to the young Mary Russell—continues in this ninth
installment, which features Holmes’ illegitimate son, whose
involvement with a cult threatens him and his family. Series nar-
rator Sterlin admirably creates a world of voices, accents, and
tones that characterize the large cast and drive the action.
BY JOYCE SARICKS
The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of
By Lyndsay Faye. Read by Simon Vance.
2017. 11.5hr. HighBridge, CD, $39.99 (9781681684239).
The characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson
have been depicted in books and on stage, film, and TV
for many years. Although some fans are deeply loyal to
their favorite actor’s performance, they may change their
minds when listening to Vance’s
masterful presentation of Faye’s
Holmes pastiches. He adds
gravitas to Watson’s voice, es-
pecially when reading excerpts
from his journals that follow the
death of his beloved wife, Mary.
Yet his spirits improve, and his
speech becomes lighter, bounci-
er, in Holmes’ presence. As Holmes, the focus of these “lost
mysteries,” Vance exhibits an impressive range of affect and
emotion. For example, he perfectly captures the sleuth’s
commonly encountered condescension, which verges on
the supercilious; Holmes’ excitement in the throes of an
investigation, with rising tones; and his humor, when he’s
“crowing with laughter” and explodes into a rooster’s call.
Resulting embarrassment is depicted in somewhat hushed
tones, as the detective admits he’s glad the event at least
only occurred in front of Watson. This fine collection of
short stories captures the flavor of Doyle’s original tales
with memorable characterizations, an authentic feel of
Victorian London, and a gritty tone. — Whitney Scott
Bonhoeffer: Student Edition.
By Eric Metaxas. Read by Stu Gray.
2017. 3hr. Thomas Nelson, CD, $49.99 (9781520069357).
Seven years ago, Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who
was a part of the German Resistance movement against Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany,
became a runaway best-seller. In this new
student edition, Metaxas tells a simplified version, of a powerful figure who endured much
suffering for the sake of his beliefs when his
life was at stake. Bonhoeffer’s bravery is emphasized throughout this biography, and time
is taken to explain military and historical
terms that may be unfamiliar to the student
listener. Gray narrates in matter-of-fact tones,
giving the biography’s prose a somewhat didactic feeling. However, he reads letters from
Bonhoeffer to his fiancée with soft pauses,
giving more emotion to the time when Bonhoeffer is imprisoned. Students who wish to
find a little-known hero who stood up to the
Nazis will find much to treasure in this brief
biography. —Joy Matteson
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life.
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Read by Robbie
2017. 12hr. Listening Library, CD, $60 (9781524734558).
Narrator Daymond brings sensitivity to