Source: Project Gutenberg, courtesy of Audiobooksforfree.com (direct link)
Reader: John Telfer
Length: 3 hr, 30 min
The book: Probably my favorite family of short stories and novels is the Sherlock Holmes series. The chronicles of Watson and Holmes start out with the short novel A Study in Scarlet. The novel is divided into two parts. The first part introduces Holmes through the eyes of Watson, then follows him on a case involving a body found with the word "RACHE" on the wall. What follows is a series of false leads and errors. Somehow, we're not immediately told how, Holmes eventually gets his man.
The second part then abruptly intrudes to tell the backstory of the criminal. Finnally, a coda tells of Holmes' lines of deduction and the resolution of the case. This story has many flaws as a mystery: almost no clues are given to the reader, Holmes does not appear in most of the second part, and the climax occurs in the middle of the novel. Yet, the hints of Doyle's talent for fascinating details shine through the faults and presage more interesting stories.
The Reader: Telfer is a wonderful reader for this series. The action is always easy to follow with his clear narration. His voice of Holmes is a clipped hurried London accent, while Watson is the more educated, slow voice. Other characters all have their own distinctive sound that fit them marvelously. The Project Gutenberg version of the recording is very good, but the free low-grade version at Audiobooksforfree.com is not quite tolerable.