Holmes has retired to the Sussex countryside to keep bees.
But old habits linger, especially when there is a mysterious
death to be solved...
my review of His
Last Bow - Volume Two, I referred to the connection
between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. In fact, there's
also some crossover appeal for fans of Star Trek.
famously, Data took on Sherlockian characteristics in the
Next Generation episodes Lonely Among Us and Elementary,
Dear Data. In addition, Spock has quoted Holmes on at
least two occasions, in the comic-strip story The Enterprise
Murder Case (issue #6 of the Marvel series) and the movie
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in which
the Vulcan suggests that Holmes (or perhaps Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle) was an ancestor of his. Leonard Nimoy himself played
the great detective in a touring production of the Sherlock
Holmes stage play.
Perhaps as payback for this, writer Bert Coules adds some
cheeky Trek elements to his dramatisation of The
Lion's Mane. Holmes (Clive Merrison) uses Spock's famous
catchphrase: "Fascinating", and - more remarkably - the term:
"Infinite diversity in infinite combinations", a philosophy
embraced by Vulcan society.
also sneaks in the "Open channel D" catchphrase from The
Man From U.N.C.L.E., as well as making some post-modern
references to William Gillette's performance in the original
Sherlock Holmes stage play and a typo in the short
story The Empty House.
of this takes place during newly written scenes featuring
Dr Watson (Michael Williams) as he visits the retired Holmes.
Dedicated Sherlockians will know that Watson did not appear
in Conan Doyle's original version of the story, which was
supposedly written by the detective himself. It always seemed
out of character for Holmes to glorify his account in the
same way that he always criticised Watson for doing. It is
therefore commendable that Coules instead chooses to have
Holmes recount the events of the case to Watson, challenging
the good doctor to solve it, as a treat for his old friend.
The Lion's Mane is an extremely inventive and enjoyable
Mrs Merrilow has the perfect lodger: a gentle woman who
keeps to herself and pays her rent regularly. But why won't
she show her face...?
We step back in time for the next three stories, back to the
days when Holmes was still in residence at 221b Baker Street.
The Veiled Lodger concerns another lion, a real one
this time, as used in a circus act. Combining such weird and
wonderful elements as the circus and the hideously scarred
woman of the title, this is an enjoyable tale.
once again Holmes decides to operate above the law by allowing
a criminal to escape conventional justice. This is a plot
device that had already been overused by this stage in the
Conan Doyle canon, and would be used again in the next story,
Shoscombe Old Place...
The connection between a dog and a bone has never been
more important than in this case, which leads Holmes and Watson
to a creepy old crypt...
In addition to Doctor Who and Star Trek, there's
also a degree of crossover appeal between the adventures of
Sherlock Holmes and those of James Bond. Both are investigators,
though Bond's methods differ greatly from Holmes' and, unlike
Holmes, he does not ordinarily operate on a freelance basis.
Both have "issues" with women, though their sexual proclivities
could scarcely be more different: whereas Holmes distrusts
women and has little or no sexual interest in them, Bond is
a womaniser who finds it impossible to hold down a lasting
Holmes, Bond became a British literary institution. Like Conan
Doyle before him, Ian Fleming attempted - unsuccessfully -
to kill off his creation, at the end of From Russia, With
Love. Bond later met his apparent death at the hands of
this own Moriarty, Blofeld, in You Only Live Twice,
only to return from the dead, like Holmes, in The Man with
the Golden Gun.
has also been a certain physical similarity between the actors
who have played the two characters over the years. Jeremy
Brett was considered for the role of Bond prior to the casting
of Roger Moore, who himself went on to play both characters.
Timothy Dalton was set to star in a 1993 movie entitled Sherlock
Holmes Vs Dracula, but the film never went into production.
There's a further Bond connection in Shoscombe Old Place,
which features Desmond "Q" Llewelyn in a small role as the
boozy verger, Palfreyman. (Presumably he's usually on the
verger intoxication - geddit? Oh, please yourselves!)
Once again, the apparent villain (Donald Pickering) turns
out to be not such a bad sort after all, but that aside this
is an entertaining mystery.
Holmes and Watson investigate a theft for a retired art-supplies
dealer, but Holmes has cause to wonder whether his own working
life is almost at an end...
The Retired Colourman guest-stars George Cole as Josiah
Amberley, the miserly art-supplies dealer of the title. This
is a lively and witty adventure, with much fun being made
of Amberley's penny-pinching ways. Watson has cause to become
amusingly exasperated at both Amberley and Holmes.
theme of retirement extends beyond the colourman. During the
course of this story, Inspector Lestrade (Stephen Thorne)
announces that he is going to hang up his handcuffs, while
Holmes himself considers whether it is also time for him to
bow out. Younger detectives have learnt from his methods and
are ready to succeed him. The tale concludes with Holmes heading
off for his beekeeping retirement, thus making for a poignant
and entirely fitting conclusion to the last in the series
of 18 volumes of CDs.
final disc also contains a brief interview with Adrian Conan
Doyle, Sir Arthur's son and literary successor, recorded in
this item online
compare prices online so you get the cheapest
deal! Click on the logo of the desired store
below to purchase this item.
All prices correct at time of going to press.