“One Must Tell the Bees”: Sherlock Holmes in America

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One Must Tell the BeesOne Must Tell the Bees by J. Lawrence Matthew’s offers a new story of Sherlock Holmes’s beginnings for Sherlockians who crave more stories of their literary hero. Using a good imitation of Dr. Watson’s distinct writing style, this audiobook alternates between two narratives. First, listeners follow one adventure described by Dr. Watson as the old friends reunite after three years apart for one last case as World War I winds down. Then, Holmes takes over the narrative as Dr. Watson reads a manuscript written by the great detective about his miserable childhood, his first exposure to what would famously become his detection methods, and his first case, which took place in the United States during its Civil War.

I often do not appreciate Sherlock Holmes pastiches, but I had a very good time listening to this audiobook, which imitates well the style of the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Watson falls into the same types of pitfalls when he tries to perform his own deductions, and Holmes responds with characteristic corrections. I do think this audiobook, at 19 hours, 13 minutes, seemed a little long. It certainly lasted much longer than comparable books in its genre. At times it felt that certain details were extraneous.

Thomas Judd serves as narrator of the audiobook and does a good job of portraying the roles of both Watson and Holmes. Listeners envision older men with much life experience in the main narratives, while they hear women and younger men in the smaller roles. In addition, Judd, who speaks with a British accent, uses very authentic American accents. In my opinion, very few British performers give believable American accents, but Judd proves to be an exception to this tendency. I was certainly pleased with the quality of this performance.

I really enjoyed One Must Tell the Bees and the incredible adventures of Sherlock Holmes during his time in America. This audiobook effectively reproduces the style of Conan Doyle, with one exception. Conan Doyle sometimes gives in to racial and cultural stereotypes, as seen in his depiction of Mormons in A Study in Scarlet. So I appreciate the friendly attitude that Holmes exhibits toward the freed slave Abraham. I highly recommend this book and give it five stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free for review purposes, but that had no influence on the content of my review.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.

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