Comments: 17
Amazing review! I have never read a full Sherlock Holmes novel, but I have been searching something to listen to on the way back to college (long journey) and I'm really interested on this one. Added to my list!
Murder by Death 2 months ago
I hope you enjoy it! The full novels would probably be considered novellas today, in terms of length, but aside from Hound of the Baskervilles, the real gems are in the short stories. They are perfect for road trips, as you can take a break between stories if you feel like changing it up. :D
Agreed on all counts -- with your above comment and your review. But you knew that, of course!
Moonlight Reader 2 months ago
I'm also making my way through this - just finished The Adventure of the Gloria Scott and started The Musgrave Ritual in the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes section. I did skip The Sign of Four, planning to go back to it later, since it's not my favorite. I should hit The Hound of the Baskervilles next week, which is my favorite Holmes. I can't wait to hear Fry narrate it.
Murder by Death 2 months ago
You've got some great stories ahead of you. Baskerville's was great!
Moonlight Reader 2 months ago
I'm going to vent about something random for a moment! I just finished The Musgrave Ritual, and can I just ask if I am the only person who was continually yelling "the goddamned elm tree would've grown in 200 years! This doesn't work AT ALL!" as I was reading? Usually that kind of blatant issue doesn't present itself with Holmes, but this really (REALLY) annoyed me.
Murder by Death 2 months ago
Didn't they have to use the stump of an oak that had fallen down? It wasn't the new oak tree... crap, I'm going to have to go back and read it again. I thought there were two trees, one old and one new (and the old one had come down in a storm or something)....
Moonlight Reader 2 months ago
It was the stump of the elm tree that had fallen down, and the Musgrave guy had measured the height of the elm before it was knocked down by a lightning strike as a trig exercise at 64 feet tall. Then Holmes did a mathy thing to measure the length of the shadow and found the "end" of the shadow using the height of 64 feet.

But the ritual was developed at the end of the reign of Charles the I in 1649, and Musgrave Ritual was published in 1893, which means that the tree would've been planted significantly more than 244 years prior, and it had been struck by lightning sometime in the preceding 20 years. Elm trees are a long-lived tree, and reach maturity at around 150 years old and don't exceed around 300 years old. So the tree couldn't have been more than 50 to 75 years at the time that the ritual was developed, which means it was still growing. And even a discrepancy of 5 to 10 feet would've thrown off the entire ritual.

I've now spent far too much time on this, but it bugs me even more after doing all of that research.
Murder by Death 2 months ago
Ok, I have the pertinent section in front of me now and you're right of course, I had the thing wonky - it was the elm that had fallen over.

Looking at this link: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/english-elm/

(which I'm assuming would be the most likely elm to which ACD would be referring), my sticking point isn't so much that the tree would have grown (their top height is just under 100ft, but not all of them would grow that tall) but it's age. I haven't found anything that indicates English Elms living for over 200 years; using your figures this one would have lived 234 years (the text says it was hit by lightning 10 years prior). The same elms that were planted here in Australia a little over 100 years ago are all dying of old age. So unless this was the methuselah elm, it should have died long before Ronald Musgrave OR his father came along.

Of course at the time ACD wrote this, who knows how much they knew concerning life spans of trees...
Well, he does say it used to be a methuselah of an elm, and it *had* actually died before Holmes visited (and before the butler started his own investigation) ...

Also, elm trees are fast-growing trees and they reach their maximum height within about 20 years, after which they only add width, no more height.
Moonlight Reader 2 months ago
Hmmmm. OK, Themis, that is relevant and interesting. Although it still bugs the hell out of me. :)
Murder by Death 2 months ago
I just had a thought pop into my head: Can you imagine ACD's reaction if he could see us now, not only still loving the Sherlock Holmes stories, but debating the likelihood of an elm's height and age from one of his short stories? :D
Moonlight Reader 2 months ago
And actually doing RESEARCH to try to work out if the story factually stands up! I think he would've chuckled mightily.
Murder by Death 2 months ago
I pictured his eyes bugging out, but I like your theory MUCH better. :D

And now we all know more about elms than we did an hour ago, lol.
LOL, so very true! :D And I'm sure ACD would love it.
Portable Magic 2 months ago
I *love* Stephen Fry!!
Murder by Death 2 months ago
He is SO good here, with ALL the character parts. Honestly, the closest I could come to criticism is that his American voice was exactly the same for all the American characters. But given that he could actually *do* an American accent and not make it sound ridiculous, it seems petty to split hairs. :D