"Give me your details, and from an armchair I will return you an excellent expert opinion." [BRUC]
The year 2010 was an eventful one for both the Sherlock Holmes franchise and Benedict Cumberbatch's role in it. Benedict had just unleashed his brilliant, modern version of the great detective and still found sometime during that year to record a reading for a series of non-Doyle Sherlock short stories: Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway and Other Stories.
Some might think it odd for a mega-popular star like Benedict to do voice work (excluding the work he's doing as Smaug, for the Hobbit obviously). But you might be surprised (or not if you're as obsessive a Benedict fan as my teenage daughter is) to know that Benedict is not only an accomplished voice actor but still enjoys doing radio shows on the BBC.The whole time Benedict has been doing the Sherlock series and all of his other, increasing, acting gigs, he's been continuing to do the BBC radio show, Cabin Pressure. It's a family favorite.
I'm very curious about the timing of the events around these stories, because BBC's Sherlock may or not have been released when he did the recordings, but they definitely wouldn't have reached the level of popularity that they have today. So asking Benedict to read these stories was a stroke of incredible luck.
When you read the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, it's obvious that this series owes all of it's success to Benedict's popularity.
I'm not usually into audio books. But I do enjoy a good Sherlock Holmes pastiche and I really enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch's voice work so this was a win-win for me. I know some people don't like pastiches, but I always find it fascinating to read other people's take on Doyle's work.
But back to the point of this review. The family and I enjoyed The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and other stories (there's four in all). As far as Sherlock Holmes pastiches, they're okay. They don't capture the spirit of Doyle as well as some but as far as stories they're better than most. But what puts these stories over the top, and makes these worthy of a family road trip, is the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch.
But if you'd like to see for yourself, they've put a short sample on YouTube.
[Editor's note: I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere is running a special with Audible, where you can get a free book download with a free 30-day trial. The Cumberbatch recordings are available via Audible as well.]