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Sherlock Holmes: The Death And Life by David Stuart

01/02/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Sherlock Holmes: The Death And Life in the USA - or Buy Sherlock Holmes: The Death And Life in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 120 minutes 2 CDs. Price: CD: 14.99 (UK), download: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-184435-455-9) cast: Roger Llewellyn.

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Sherlock Holmes is about to be killed off by his ungrateful author. He's doomed to die in the Reichenbach Falls, pushed to his death by a specially created nemesis, Moriarty. He is at the end of his useful life and is a little bit upset about this. Up until now he's assumed that he was a real person living a functional life as a private detective. Holmes is very good, using ahead of his time forensic techniques to solve crimes that have proved impossible to the plods of Scotland Yard.

Arthur Conan Doyle, the unhappy author, has done very well out of Sherlock but he's had enough of his hack detective. He's being cruel to be kind and killing his golden goose. Something has to change and he wants to be a proper author. Holmes is not impressed and must make his last stand.

This one-man play has been transformed into a well-paced audio with Roger Llewellyn taking the parts of both Holmes and Conan Doyle along with other characters. Llewellyn bleeds Holmes through his pores. It's very intense and must be impressive to watch in the theatre. With real passion and belief in every enunciation he makes us believe in each moment of the action and there's never a dull moment as we once again sink into the pea-soup London of Victorian times.

Holmes declaims while Conan Doyle bemoans his fate to be remembered as merely 'that Sherlock Holmes man' by peasants brandishing 'The Strand' magazine in which the serialised adventures appear. It seems Doyle was struck by the desire to produce more noble literature, not realising that he should just do what he is good at.

This is a surreal exploration of the relationship between the author and his constructs and what happens when they decide to fight back. It is told with great conviction and it's enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck rise up as we consider how we construct our own worlds and view of reality. It's been an obsession within Science Fiction to look at the nature of reality and what happens when something comes along to disturb the accepted world view and this play takes up this challenge into a different genre.

I have enjoyed this so much its almost on repeat on my iTunes. Every time I listen there is something more to ponder on. It is perfectly suited to audio and all credit to the writer David Stuart Davies whose baby this is. Also, Roger Llewellyn has an extraordinary range as he changes between different characters within the play.

As with other Big Finish productions there are plenty of extras which describe the genesis of the idea to put this on audio along with the other two audios one of which 'The Last Act' is already released. The next audio which features Nicholas Briggs in 'Holmes And The Ripper' (also a previously produced stage play but with a full cast) has been delayed by technical problems until later in the year.

Roger Llewellyn is touring soon with this unique play and 'The Last Act'. I'm off to book my tickets!

Sue Davies

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This book has 173 votes in the sci-fi charts

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