Who doesn't love a good mystery, especially one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? His creation Sherlock Holmes is the prototype for countless modern detective writers and continues to entertain us with unparalleled stories sparked by Holmes's brilliance and powers of reasoning. Abetted by his unforgettable sidekick, Dr. Watson, he is called upon to solve not only the most puzzling but the most dastardly cases.
We might say these adventures ably narrated by Ralph Cosham are a synthesis of Doyle's work. There are 12 stories in all from A Scandal in Bohemia to The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. It would be impossible for this listener/reader to pick a favorite but one that stands out in my mind is The Beryl Coronet.
First published in 1892 this story features a banker, Arthur Holder, who makes a sizeable loan to an established citizen. The Beryl Coronet, which is extremely valuable is left as security. Holder determines the Coronet would not be secure in the bank, so he takes it home and puts it in his personal safe. That night he's awakened by strange noises and finds Arthur, his son, with the Coronet in his hand. This scene is witnessed by Holder's niece, Mary, who keels over when she sees the broken Coronet.
Arthur seems most certainly to be guilty of damaging the priceless object yet Holmes remains to be convinced (as he so often is). Several issues muddy the waters - Arthur refuses to say anything; he will not admit guilt or claim innocence. How could he have broken the Coronet when Holmes who is quite strong cannot begin to do so? Fortunately, footprints in the snow outside Holder's house lead Holmes to the real thief.
Narrator Cosham who has been nominated several times for an Audie Award and whose readings have been named "Audio Best of the Year" by Publishers Weekly is the perfect voice for these stories - resonant, clear with timing that adds to the suspense.
- Gail Cooke