In Review: Big Finish: The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes

Barnes expertly melded melodrama and allegory as unapologetically as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did himself.

After the Judgement… Sacrifice must be made

Synopsis: A cold, wet, unforgiving day in the November of 1921, London is under attack.

Drawn from retirement to combat the menace, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are forced, without warning, to confront old enemies and new threats – and an evil which has been waiting for decades to exact its revenge…

Part 1: The Prophet in the Rain

It begins with the sound of rain upon the windowpane, with a woman who claims to speak to the dead, with an enemy stepping out into the storm and with the unfolding of a savage and merciless scheme to bring London to its knees. Only our elderly detective, Mr Sherlock Holmes, seems to sense upon the wind the scent of approaching disaster…

Part 2: The Body in the Garret

The attack upon the city is escalating. The death toll is rising. And the agents of the Society are everywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson – outflanked by events and outfoxed by their opponents – are forced to confront the limitations of their abilities in this strange new era as, all around them, the fire continues to spread.

Part 3: The Beast in the Darkness

With Dr Watson held captive by the enemy, a badly wounded Holmes races against the clock to confront the mastermind behind the brutal tragedies of the day. But will the Council of Priam help or hinder him in his attempt to stem the rising tide of madness?

Part 4: The Shadow in the Water

At last all of the players are brought together for a final confrontation. The warrior. The psychic. The detective. The doctor. And something else – something which has, for decades, been waiting in the darkness and biding its time, waiting for Sherlock Holmes’ last stand…

Review: With The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes, writer Jonathan Barnes concluded the arc he began with The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner. Throughout this thirteen episode narrative, Barnes expertly melded melodrama and allegory as unapologetically as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did himself.

Even more impressive, however, was the character realization throughout. Everything was exposed from Holmes’ hubris and frailty to Watson’s marital dynamics. While the deconstruction was almost oppressive at times (due to general overuse in entertainment these days), I always had the sense that Barnes understood who these people were. Within The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes, he proved me correct. While I generally avoid discussing plot in detail, I own I shed a few tears when Watson became the head of the Council of Priam. It was a logical, loving, and well-earned development.

As ever, Nicholas Briggs and Richard Earl were superb. I’m glad Holmes’ sacrifice wasn’t as literal as he intended. It gives listeners hope of fresh adventures in new climes.

  • You can purchase ‘The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes’ here 


Written By: Jonathan Barnes

Directed By: Ken Bentley


Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes), Richard Earl (Dr John Watson), Tracey Childs (Mrs Edgar Curbishley), Jeremy Clyde (Lord Felix Happerton/Rackham), Jamie Hinde (Colonel Giles Stoddart), Joe Jameson (Alistair Baxter/Midshipman Boyle), Alan Cox (Agamemnon), Frances Marshall (Mrs Jemima Blake), Jamie Newall (William Tallow/Sir James Burton), Elizabeth Rider (Mrs Eleanor Watson), Christopher Naylor (Alfie Carnehan/Captain Richard Avary), Natalie Burt (Miss Vivienne Scott). Other parts portrayed by the cast

Producer Nicholas Briggs, Line Producer David Richardson

Script Editor Ken Bentley

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: The Sacrifice of Sherlock Holmes
  • Story, Performances
  • I subjectively experienced some deconstruction fatigue.
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

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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