15 September 2012

Review: CLASSIC DETECTIVE STORIES, read by Edward Hardwicke - audio book

  • running time: 4 CDs, approximately 5 hours
  • ISBN 978-1-40742-901-4
  • Publisher: W.F. Howes Lt., a CSA Word Recording
  • source: my local library

1. The Green Mamba by Edgar Wallace, published 1925
2. The Poetical Policeman by Edgar Wallace, published 1925
3. The Dying Detective by Arthur Conan Doyle, published 1913
4. The Burglar by Colin Dexter, published 1994
5. The Man in the Passage by G.K. Chesterton, published 1914
6. The Assassin's Club by C. Day Lewis writing as Nicholas Blake, 1945?
This one has been published in a number of anthologies.
7. The Case of the Tragedies of the Greek Room by Sax Rohmer, published 1920
8. Chimes by Muriel Spark, 1995?

This collection was selected and published by CSA Word who claims that they are unabridged and that the running time is 5 Hours.

Narrator Edward Hardwicke played Dr. Watson from 1986 to 1994 on various British Sherlock Holmes TV series.

My take

This is a rather strange collection and I can't help wondering about how it was put together.
(I couldn't help wondering if they were stories without any copyright hindrances).
To start with, the blurb on the CD pack of 4 CDs says that there are 10 stories, but there are only 8.
I have found the original edition containing 10 stories here.

The only "modern" authors are Colin Dexter and Muriel Spark, and my listening companion remarked how old fashioned some of the other stories felt.

The stories do introduce detectives such as Edgar Wallace's J.G. Reeder and Sax Rhomer's Morris Klaw, whom modern readers would not be familiar with. But to bill these particular eight stories as "some of the best crime fiction ever written" is rather misleading.

From an audio point of view, there was a bit of variability in volume level and recording quality, which was annoying.

The Father Brown story, Chesterton's The Man in the Passage was probably the cleverest, but I think I enjoyed the crispness of Chimes by Muriel Spark the best.

My rating: 3.7

A contributions to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books


Sarah said...

I have this audio collection Kerrie. I agree it is a mixed bag and that the Chesterton story is the best.

Richard R. said...

Alas, my library on;y has a downloadable audio file, and I've had problems with those in the past.


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