Although I am one of those singular Sherlock Holmes addicts, I cannot arouse even a third of that enthusiasm for Auguste Dupin, the first real detective. Perhaps, this has to do with an antipathy for the French nation (aside of Proust of course!), but I do find his interjections and explanations, overtly monotonous, at times preposterous and with a good dose of snobbish patronisation.
'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' is perhaps the best story, but unlike Doyle, Poe leaves too little time for the sailor's explanation at the end although we are kept in tantalizing wait for the lengthy and pompous Dupin explanation. Marie Roget is even more extended and boorish, taking almost an hour and a half for a very simple murder which would have taken Holmes just a few minutes to solve. Obviously, I could not summon much enthusiasm for 'The Purloined Letter' by now, but at least it is mercifully short.
Kerry Shale's reading is fine but he puts on a horrible nasal voice for Dupin which would have been so much better suited to the gregarious David Timson. His impersonations of the chronicler are slightly too hollow but the music makes a pleasant complement. Many will obviously disagree heartily with me but I would have preferred an issue of the classic tales such as 'The Pit and the Pendulum', 'The Tell Tale Heart' and 'The Fall of the House of Usher' instead.
Copyright © 2003 by Gerald Fenech.