Review: Big Finish: The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes Box Set

Synopsis: Four decades. Four cases. One solution. From the plains of Afghanistan to the alleyways of Victorian London, from the dark heart of the English countryside to the ruin...

BFCSherlock-Holmes

Synopsis: Four decades. Four cases. One solution.

From the plains of Afghanistan to the alleyways of Victorian London, from the dark heart of the English countryside to the ruin of Europe after the Great War, join Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson in a quartet of astonishing new investigations which span their lifelong friendship – and beyond…

Review: It was a dark and stormy day. Shut in from the inclement weather, I listened to The ‘Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes’. Writer Jonathan Barnes displayed an almost Dickensian mastery of narrative economy throughout the four interlinked adventures.

Events set in motion in 1880, involving a brutal death in London and little blue flowers in Afghanistan, played out in a new post-war European nation in 1919. The great detective is tested in stories that deconstructed his persona and forced him to confront his own hubris and frailty. Ever loyal, ever brave Watson was by his friend’s side for an epic forty year journey through blood, fire, insanity, and blossoms.

Some might argue that the resolution doesn’t suit Conan Doyle’s internal logic. However, Barnes justified the final act in the behind-the-scenes interviews. He imagined the final story as one Conan Doyle might have written if he had continued with the characters and experimented with narrative elements. I don’t have any issues with Barnes’ choices as Conan Doyle not only created Sherlock Holmes, but Lot No. 249, as well.

The performances are marvellous throughout. Nicholas Briggs brought a depth that fell somewhere between Clive Merrison and Jeremy Brett. Richard Earl was no Nigel Bruce. Thank god. He did Michael Williams proud. Kudos should also go to John Banks. Lestrade can be a thankless part, but Banks rose to the challenge, playing a pivotal role in this decades long arc.

I give The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes box set 5 out of 5.

Cast: Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes), Richard Earl (Dr Watson), John Banks (Inspector Lestrade), Derek Carlyle (Wherry), Blake Ritson (Christopher Thrale), Michael Cochrane (Winchester Bartley-Gower), Eve Karpf (The Gracious Adelina/Mrs Chaunt Maclise/Mrs Hope), Amy Ewbank (Eliza Hinderclay/Judy), Ken Bones (Jim Hinderclay), Caroline Keiff (Tess Dorno), Tracey Childs (Mrs Edgar Curbishley), Marek Oravec (Griesser), Andrew Fettes (Tlitzlmann Blench)

Written By: Jonathan Barnes?Directed By: Ken Bentley

Score: 5/5

Written By Raissa Devereux

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.

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