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The Forgotten Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:…

The Forgotten Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Based on the Original Radio…

by H. Paul Jeffers

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These stories are based on radio plays broadcast from 1945 to 1947. The Holmes was Basil Rathbone until 1946 and Tom Conway thereafter; Nigel Bruce read the Watson parts on all the radio shows.
Sherlock Holmes radio broadcasts had been a staple by then, on the air pretty much continually in the United States and later in England since 1930. These had various sponsors and were broadcast on different networks over the years. The plots of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original four novels and fifty-six short stories were soon exhausted, so the radio play writers began to write their own plots using the familiar Conan Doyle characters of Holmes, Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson the landlady, the evil genius Professor Moriarty, and so on.
Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater of the Air produced a Holmes broadcast, and many episodes were written by Leslie Charteris, the creator of his own very popular mystery adventure character, Simon Templar, called “The Saint.” Eventually Charteris hired Anthony Boucher, an author of mysteries and science fiction stories as well as literary and music criticism. Boucher’s collaborator was Denis Green, who had been a writer for the Thin Man radio series based on Dashiell Hammett’s novel.
Jeffers’s adaptations of the radio plays into stories often start with a character or situation mentioned in the original Conan Doyle stories, and the plots are ingenious, though Jeffers has not mastered Conan Doyle’s construction techniques to preserve the readers’ interest. A typical Conan Doyle Holmes story begins with mystifying events and then moves to physical adventure before Holmes explains all. The Jeffers stories tend to be anticlimactic.
A worse problem is Jeffers’s weak language skills and his tin ear. Here’s an example:
“Blast you, Moriarty,” I railed. “You are a fiend, and I have no doubt that one day you will reap your just dessert at the end of a hangman’s rope in Newgate Prison!”
Jeffers confuses just deserts—one s in the middle and always plural—with the ice-cream-and-cake variety of dessert, and the image of reaping at the end of a rope just doesn’t work, so the effect is melodramatic and wordy. Conan Doyle, on the other hand, had a sensitivity to language trained by Austen, Dickens, and the great Victorian novelists. His descriptions use just the right words and don’t waste any.
But Sherlock Holmes lovers will suffer a lot just to be once again in the company of their favorite detective, however attenuated and inarticulate this ghostly manifestation might be ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 4, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786715871, Paperback)

Adapted from the original Sherlock Holmes radio broadcasts featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce and penned by the talented Anthony Boucher, these new pastiches by H. Paul Jeffers are sure to thrill all lovers of the Holmes canon.

When radio broadcasts of Boucher's stories aired in the 1940s, Doyle fans were ecstatic. 221 A Baker Street Associates, with their discovery of the archive of these long-lost broadcasts, herewith presents the second volume of forgotten adventures featuring the Great Detective and his loyal companion, in tales certain to keep readers guessing until the final solution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:33 -0400)

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