by Neil Gaiman
narrated by Neil Gaiman
This is a short mystery story set in London, 1881, told from the point of view of Retired Major S___ M____ - the friend, roommate and recruited sidekick of the unnamed Consulting Detective featured in this little thriller. The premise of the story is that a stabbed corpse has been discovered in Shoreditch and, the homicide is a matter of national security as the deceased was apparently a family member and friend of Queen Victoria. [How this is a matter of national security and not just embarrassment is beyond me, but the listener is expected to just roll with it...] The whole of the mystery is really a pretense by which Neil Gaiman gets to show off his character creations, Gothic atmospherics and, his own unique strangeness. The fact that the listener of this otherwise-whodunnit is never given the advantage of full disclosure of the evidence is nearly obscured by the smoke-and-mirrors of interstitial "ads," intimations that the Royal family might be something-other-than-human and, the dynamics between the competing intellects of the characters. In and of itself, A Study in Emerald isn't much in terms of a mystery; but it could more than ably serve as the opening chapter to a full-fledged novel. The tease of an arch-nemesis in the making is very titillating. Neil Gaiman narrates this short and his voice is appropriately clear, resonate, deep and drippy [reminds me of Alan Rickman, the actor.]
Recommendation: I'm not so sure that A Study in Emerald is a piece that would have you craving for more Neil Gaiman; but it is an entertaining diversion for about 45 minutes. And heck, it's free! Yes, A Study in Emerald is a free dnload from audible.com! You can also get the print copy free from Neil Gaiman's web-site too. Neil Gaiman has a rather controversial idea as to the efficacy of free and pirated material on the internet:
According to my notes for the What's in a Name? Challenge, A Study in Emerald qualifies as "a boom with a germ/jewlry in the title."