BBC Radio: The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes - Silver Blaze Review

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Andrew East continues his journey through the audio adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Now that was more like it. Silver Blaze is a good example of a classic Holmes mystery. A missing horse, a death and a mixture of intriguing clues.

Silver Blaze is a top notch race horse and one night he goes missing from the stables. The body of Blaze’s trainer, Straker, is found nearby.and suspicion falls on a bookmaker, Simpson, seen trying to get access to the horse the night before.

Holmes’s investigation of the mystery brings together the various clues in a very satisfactory way leading to the discovery of Silver Blaze’s whereabouts, the truth about Straker’s death and the identity of the actual kidnapper of the horse.

The clues include a plate of curried mutton (how very Victorian), a candle, a receipt for a lady’s dress and the curious incident of the dog in the night time. This last clue may ring a bell with people as it is the title of the novel, and now massive hit play. I have read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (and very good it is too) but had never realised it was a quote from Sherlock Holmes (or if I did know, I had completely forgotten!).

The performances are good. Merrison and Williams continue to be reliable in the principal roles and they are ably supported by the guest cast. One voice is instantly recognisable; that of Jack May playing the horse’s owner, Colonel Ross. He may be more familiar to readers as General Hermack from The Space Pirates. He has a very odd delivery style which, in The Space Pirates, seemed to be accentuated by the awful American accent he adopted for the role. Here, as a stiff upper lipped Victorian gentlemen, he is better, but he is still a little odd in his style from time to time.

The climax of the story at the race meet is well realised on audio and brings in another aspect of Victorian life: sporting events and gambling.

A very enjoyable audio which apparently is well-liked amongst Holmes fans, and I can see why.

A primary school teacher and father of two, Andrew finds respite in the worlds of Doctor Who, Disney and general geekiness. Unhealthily obsessed with Lance Parkin’s A History, his Doctor Who viewing marathon is slowly following Earth history from the Dawn of Time to the End of the World. He would live in a Disney theme park if given half the chance.

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