Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review - "Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" (1969)

"Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" begins with Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) fleeing town after committing a particularly gruesome murder. Adopting a new name, Frankenstein takes to staying at a boarding house run by Anna Spengler (Veronica Carlson). With the help of Veronica's fiance, Karl (Simon Ward), who works the local asylum, Frankenstein abducts one of the patients, Dr. Brandt, who knows the secrets of successful brain transplant.

Brandt suffers a massive heart attack, and so Frankenstein kills Professor Richter (Freddie Jones), head physician at the asylum, and uses his body as a new home for Brandt's brain. However, in usual fashion, once his creature is brought to life, it turns on Frankenstein.

To many critics, "Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" is considered Hammer Studio's finest hour. I don't know if I'd give it that honour, it was nevertheless a very enjoyable film, mostly due to Peter Cushing's wonderful performance. To most, Peter Cushing is often remembered as the good guy of horror films - mostly due to his heroic roles in "Horror of Dracula," "The Mummy" and of course his many turns as Sherlock Holmes. However, Cushing's portrayal of Baron Frankenstein is a wonderfully evil one. Just as Christopher Lee embodied evil in the form of the demonic Count Dracula, Cushing's Frankenstein is evil at its most snobbish. Cushing creates a character who is wonderfully haughty, pompous and manipulative. In a satisfying bit of writing, the Baron's vanity soon leads to his downfall, as his plans begin to crumble as soon as he goes out to buy himself a buttonhole.

Veronica Carlson and Simon Ward also turn in good performances as victims of the Baron's cruelty. By the end of the film, you truly sympathize for these characters despite the fact that they have committed a number of crimes, because it's all under the Baron's control. Thorley Walters also turns up as a representative of the police, and he manages to show off a comedic side. Walters is well-known in Sherlockian circles for having appeared as Dr. Watson three times (opposite Christopher Lee, Douglas Wilmer and Christopher Plummer) and he also had a part in 1983's "The Sign of Four."

"Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" was directed by Terence Fisher, a veteran of many Hammer horror films. The direction of the film is great, especially when it makes the most of its show-stopping sequences. The opening murder scene is done very well, and there's a splendid scene of Hitchcock-like suspense as the police search Anna's boarding house, unbeknownst that the Baron is conducting his experiments in the basement below. The climax of the film is truly show-stopping and it shows that Hammer knew how to end a film on a dramatic high-note.

This film is also included in TCM's Greatest Classic Films Collection of Hammer horror films. It is included on a double-sided DVD with Hammer's first Frankenstein film, "Curse of Frankenstein" which featured Peter Cushing in the role of the Baron and Christopher Lee as his creation. In my humble opinion, this collection is great for anyone who wants to try out the Hammer horror films, as it wonderfully supplies a good sample of what the studio excelled in during the 1950's and 1960's. Hopefully in future, I can acquire some more of Hammer's horror classics and review them on this blog.

"Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" may not Hammer's finest film, but it is an excellent one. Peter Cushing is an excellent actor, and he makes for a wonderfully villainous Baron Frankenstein. I award the film a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Review - "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" (1969)

I have always been partial to classic horror. It started as a kid when I saw the 1931 version of "Dracula" when it was being shown at the local library for Halloween. Despite my love for vintage macabre, I never really got into the films of Hammer Studios, who produced horror films from 1957 into the mid '70's. Perhaps as a younger person, I was always rather off-put by the fact that Hammer was the first studio to push the envelope with what was acceptable in horror films. I'm still not a fan of overt gore, so I have learned which Hammer films to shy away from, and which ought to be viewed.

To finally get a taste of what Hammer was all about, I recently bought TCM's Greatest Classic Films Collection, which featured four Hammer horror films. Included in the set of four films are: "Curse of Frankenstein," "Horror of Dracula," "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" and "Frankenstein Must be Destroyed." Having already seen some of the films, and spoken of how good they are, I thought I'd continue by reviewing yet another of the collection's horror classics.

"Dracula has Risen from the Grave" begins in blood-and-thunder style, as a young boy in a church discovers blood trickling out of one of the church's bells. It transpires that a young woman's body is discovered in the bell, the tell-tale bite marks of a vampire upon her throat. Fearing it to be the work of Count Dracula, whose castle stands on the outskirts of the village, the traveling Monsignor Ernst Muller (Rupert Davies), travels to the castle to get rid of any evil lingering therein. Placing a cross on the door, Dracula (Christopher Lee), who has been resurrected, vows revenge and follows the Monsignor to his own village, where he plans to turn the cleric's niece (Veronica Carlson) into a vampire. 

The film was the third movie in which Christopher Lee played Dracula. He continues to play the part of Count Dracula with great menace. What makes Dracula so creepy in this movie is that he is a shadowy figure, whose presence is felt throughout the story, but in the long run he has very little screen time. What's more, Dracula has only a few lines. He is a truly evil figure, and one cannot feel contempt as he puts Veronica Carlson and Barbra Ewing under his hypnotic control. Despite the fact that "Dracula has Risen from the Grave," the movie goes a long way to create a fairy tale-like atmosphere. Director, Freddie Francis, was a cameraman before he took over the position of director at Hammer studios, and he directed visuals incredibly well. In a large number of the scenes, red, yellow and amber filters are placed before the camera lens. This goes a long way to giving these scenes some atmosphere, and add some colour to the mainly monochromatic sets.

"Dracula has Risen from the Grave" was, as I mentioned above, re-released as part of the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection series. If you're unfamiliar with the DVDs, the collections feature four films in a specific genre or category. Some examples of these sets include: Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, Sc-Fi movies, James Stewart films etc. Released alongside three other prime examples of Hammer's movie making, the four movies are released on two double-sided DVDs. I know some people are violently opposed to double-sided DVDs, but I have never had a problem with any of my collections. The collection sadly does not feature any special features, but I think these collections are intended as an introduction to classic films, instead of a collection for the avid historian.

I thought that "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" was an excellent horror film form the heyday of Hammer's reign. It was a well-made horror extravaganza, with plenty of Technicolor blood to go around. With some fine acting from Christopher Lee as the epitome of evil, the movie is a taut thriller. I give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. If you're interested, I'll post another review from this collection - next time "Frankenstein Must be Destroyed" starring the great Peter Cushing. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review - "Calling Philo Vance" (1940)

The final movie on Warner Bos.' DVD, "The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection" is actually a remake. 1940's, "Calling Philo Vance" is an updated version of the 1933 film, "The Kennel Murder Case." Retaining the same plot, the movie throws in a bit of espionage and Nazi sympathizing to thoroughly bring Philo Vance into the modern world.

S.S. Van Dine's final Philo Vance novel, "The Winter Murder Case" was published only one year prior to the release of this movie. Van Dine died that same year. By looking at the Philo Vance character and the movies made thus far, it is pretty easy to understand why Warner Bros. decided to implement a few changes when it came to the central character. Vance, as played by James Stephenson in this film, is no longer a haughty, upper-crust, pompous twit, he's actually a rather likable fellow.

When the film was released, 20th Century Fox had just dropped the Sherlock Holmes series featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as well as the Mr. Moto series with Peter Lorre. The detective whose name still graced screens at the time was Charlie Chan, played by Sidney Toler who brought a warmness to the character, with a bit of acid wit. Vance would be redefined like this. No audience in 1940, the beginning of a war overseas, would want to rally around a self-proclaimed know-it-all who could quote literature better than Lord Peter Wimsey. Especially so if this detective would be working on the country's behalf.

"Calling Philo Vance" opens in Vienna where Vance (James Stephenson) is working undercover. He has been tipped off that American airplane designer, Archer Coe is selling plans for a bomber to the Nazis. In an effort effort to recover the plans, Vance is caught and sentenced to months of hard labour aboard a ship. When it docks in New York, he escapes and becomes embroiled in mystery once again when Archer Coe is discovered brutally murdered.

There isn't much to say about "Calling Philo Vance" in plot terms that I have not said for "The Kennel Murder Case." The two stories are exactly the same, aside from the Nazi business in the beginning. It is a well-made movie, obviously a B-movie from the time. By watching it I don't think you'll witness anything extraordinary. However, James Stephenson is one fine Philo Vance. I'd say he's the best actor since Warren William in "The Dragon Murder Case" to have taken on the part. Despite not betraying the condescending attitude of William or Powell, James Stephenson does make Philo Vance a worthy adversary and he is familiar with high society. It also helps that this Philo Vance can even throw a few punches - quite far from the character of S.S. Van Dine's novels, but helpful in broadening the character.

Also on hand to perform are character actors such as Ralph Forbes and Martin Kosleck. Kosleck is a familiar face to fans of '30's and '40's cinema, especially to those familiar with Universal Horror films. Kosleck's performance here is a minimal one, but within a few years he'd make a name for himself in the horror and mystery genre.

"Calling Philo Vance" is a fine film for this collection to end on. Since its release, I have praised Warner Bros. and the Archive Collection for finally putting these fine films on DVD and I have also bought another film collection in the Archive Collection. To any fans of the mystery genre, these classics come highly recommended from me. Officially, I give "Calling Philo Vance" 3.5 out of 5 stars.

All of these movies are real classics for the film buff or the mystery enthusiast to enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review - "The Garden Murder Case" (1936)

What do you get when you cross a nearly incomprehensible plot with an actor who has the personality of a  block of wood? If you answered "The Garden Murder Case" than you are correct. Without a doubt the weakest of the Philo Vance movies, "The Garden Murder Case" is quite a feat to review.

S.S. Van Dine, the author of the Philo Vance novels, was a very interesting character. He had many attributes in common with his literary creation, including extreme pompousness and aloofness. By the end of his writing career, Van Dine had also lost the ability to plot. There is heavy criticism of Van Dine's last few Philo Vance novels due to the fact that they were jumbled affairs with out-of-this world plots and that could apply directly to this film. The basic outline of the thing is that after a jokey breaks his neck while in a horse race, tensions are high among the owner's family. That night there's shots heard from inside the man's study and soon everyone is wading through a murder mystery. Luckily, Philo Vance (Edmund Lowe) is on hand to help.

Aside from the fact that the plot of this movie is nearly impossible to follow, the biggest problem with the movie is Edmund Lowe as Vance. No offence to him, but Lowe was probably the most uncharismatic actor ever to appear on the silver screen. His performance as Vance is one-dimensional and dull and his efforts to make himself suave fall flat. Quite simply - Lowe is a bore and the character he's playing is not Philo Vance. 

Once again, M-G-M was behind this production and at least it looks nice. The main setting of the movie looks beautiful. Also the opening scenes at the horse races look great. According to TCM's website, the movie was shot at the Sanita Anita race track. However the movie was not totally made up for the problems of the plot and acting. Virginia Bruce plays the leading lady in this picture and she's not bad, but her performance in this movie not exactly Oscar-winning. The same must be said for Gene Lockhart, who I never would have thought I'd see in a cheap mystery movie. The less said about Nat Pendleton as Sergeant Heath, the better. Pendleton could on occasion be an okay actor. He was quite funny as the tyrannical driver sergeant opposite Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in 1941's "Buck Privates." But here, Pendleton is cringeworthy. He hams it up as an incredibly idiotic Heath and he leaves little scenery unchewed.

Now don't go thinking that this movie is the equivalent of "Plan 9 from Outer Space." It's a fairly entertaining mystery, and the production looks great. Nevertheless, I give "The Garden Murder Case" 2 out of 5 stars. It's the weakest film in the "Philo Vance Murder Case Collection."

Notes: The print available on the DVD is okay. The sound seems a bit distant at times, but the picture quality isn't bad. Overall, it's a nice DVD transfer and beyond that I have nothing more here to say.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review - "Agatha Christie's Poirot: Elephants Can Remember"

If there was ever a television show which its ups and downs, "Agatha Christie's Poirot" would be it. What started in 1989 as an enjoyable tribute to Agatha Christie and her work, soon became something entirely as standards for mystery television changed. In 2010, "Murder on the Orient Express" one of Christie's most beloved books was adapted for television and out of this came one of the most disappointing Poirot episode made (at least in this blogger's humble opinion).

I'm glad to say that the following three adaptations, "Three Act Tragedy," "The Clocks" and "Hallowe'en Party" were far better. However, as the 13th and final season of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" approached, I for one feared that the series might regress back to the downbeat and upsetting style used for "Orient Express." Season 13 of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" kicked off on 9 June with "Elephants Can Remember," based on one of Christie's latest novels. Did this adaptation succeed where others have failed? Let's take a closer look.

Mrs. Ariadne Oliver (Zoe Wanamaker), the famed mystery writer is asked a strange question by a complete stranger to her. The woman is the mother of a young man who plans to marry one of Mrs. Oliver's god-children, Celia Ravenscroft. The question is: did Celia's mother kill her father before taking her own life, or was it the other way around? Stunned, Mrs. Oliver goes to her friend, Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) for help, but the detective is busy on another case. As Mrs. Oliver begins her investigation, it appears as those the two detective's cases are connected.

I have never read "Elephants Can Remember," however from what I have heard, the book is not exactly Christie's final hour. Some of this translates onto the screen. The identity of the culprit is not well-hidden and I managed to figure out whodunit before Poirot. To cover this fact up, a subplot is added, which adds another murder for Poirot to solve. Due to the fact that I have not read Christie's novel, I do not know how well this sub plot was introduced. At a first glance, the plot fits in better than the nun subplot from "Appointment with Death," a rant for another time.

Acting is first rate all around, especially by David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker. The two have excellent screen chemistry together and they manage to play off each other well. Poirot is not the same depressed, antagonistic characterization from "Murder on the Orient Express" and the screen writers have managed to slip in a not or two of comedy for the character. The look on Poirot's face when Mrs. Oliver introduces him as "her assistant" is wonderful. By now, it seems rather like second nature for Zoe Wanamaker to play Mrs. Oliver and she is superb as usual. In the absence of Captain Hastings, Miss Lemon and Inspector Japp, Mrs. Oliver makes a nice addition to the Poirot family.

"Elephants Can Remember" is brought down by the lengthy conversations which occur throughout the story. Yes - most of Agatha Christie's mysteries deal with lots of questioning, but there's nothing to break up the tedium. We don't get any flashbacks - just two people sitting in a room, talking about people who, though important to the plot, are never developed. Also, Poirot doesn't do a great deal of detective work here. Once he questions one suspect, he's solved the entire mystery due to their confession. It would have been nice to see Poirot actually get to assemble some clues instead of come up with the solution seemingly out of nowhere.

Luckily, the 13th and final season of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" has started off reasonably well. Scheduled for transmission next is "The Big Four" which will reunite Poirot with Miss Lemon and Captain Hastings, something I am looking forward to a great deal. However, "The Big Four" is without doubt the strangest Poirot novel ever written. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I give, "Elephants Can Remember," 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review - "The Great Gatsby"

I know what you must be thinking. First I say that this blog will be devoted to Sherlock Holmes. Then, I say I'll throw in some Doctor Who. Then, I go for the entire mystery genre - and now I'm reviewing something hardly related to the genre in any way. Don't worry, this is a one time thing.

Since "The Great Gatsby's" release in late May, the movie has received a number of mixed reviews. Some have loved it. Others hated it. I finally got around to seeing the movie and luckily my memories of the book still linger in my mind, since I read it for the first time only a few months ago. For anyone who doesn't know, "Gatsby" tells the story of millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he tries to rekindle his love with Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan).

The tragic story of love and loss was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, and since then has become a beloved classic. Officially, Fitzgerald's book has only been adapted twice for the screen, once in 1974 with Robert Redford as Gatsby and once in 2000 with Toby Stephens as the millionaire. At the time of this writing, I have yet to see the other two adaptations so I cannot say how this newest one stands up to the others. 2013's "The Great Gatsby" was directed by Baz Luhrman, the director behind 2001's "Moulin Rogue." If there was a director who could be picked to bring the 1920's to life in a new, innovative way, Luhrman was the man.

I'll be up front with you all - I thought that "The Great Gatsby" was fantastic. The performances, cinematography, costumes and set design were all splendid. What surprised me most however was DiCaprio. I have never been a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. He was always in my mind something of a mediocre actor - he's not bad (watch "Catch Me If You Can"), but not perfect. However, here he knocked my socks off as Gatsby. Though he was not the ideal representation for Gatsby in my mind, he stole the show in the film. His introduction in the movie was handled brilliantly with the music swelling and fireworks blasting in the background. It was a brilliantly executed scene, and in that moment I was positive that there was no one else suited for the role of Jay Gatsby.

Toby Maguire was also very good as Nick Carroway, the book's narrator. In my mind, Nick has always been a fish-out-of-water character and I feel as though he pulled off the part brilliantly, conveying a wide range of emotions in the span of the film's running time. Carey Mulligan was good as Daisy, though her performance was perhaps overshadowed by both DiCaprio and Maguire as well as Joel Edgerton, who plays her husband Tom. Joel delivered a fine performance as the antagonistic Tom and he was a true screen presence.

Performances aside, the movie looked great. The recreation of 1920's New York was stylishly represented and despite a modern twist on the era, there were still some great throwbacks such as posters for Douglas Fairbanks' "Robin Hood" and advertisements for men's pointed collars. Gatsby's parties were created in wonderfully over-the-top fashion, and although I pictured nothing so grandiose in my mind when reading the book, it seemed to work perfectly. The same can be said for the modern musical score, which consisted mainly of rap and hip-hop music. At first, the idea of rap music in a movie set in the '20's seemed so wrong, but again it managed to work well here. It's almost inexplicable as to why - it just did.

While I loved "The Great Gatsby" it was not perfect. Some of the book's well-masked symbolism is exploited too greatly in the book. During the film, it is made sure that the viewer comprehends the symbolism. This detracted me from the movie some, as did the dumbing  down of some symbolism. A green light is used throughout the story to symbolize hope and during the actual book, the green light is never explained. Here, the light is explained away at once, and it takes away from some of the mystery of this plot element. I would have preferred if these elements weren't changed so dramatically or dwelled upon too much.

I went into "The Great Gatsby" hearing a number of varied opinions - I left the theater in awe. I thought that the movie was wonderfully done. This is certainly the best adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel so far, and can be enjoyed equally by those who not read the book. I heartily recommend "The Great Gatsby" and I award it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review - "The Casino Murder Case" (1935)

1935's "The Casino Murder Case" was the first Philo Vance film to be produced at M-G-M instead of Warner Bros and this is evident. The production values of this film are excellent and really lend weight to the mysterious goings-on in high society. However, we're once more faced with a new Philo Vance and a mew mystery. How does this film hold up in those regards?

"The Casino Murder Case" begins with Philo Vance (Paul Lukas) learning that some violent episode might occur at a famed casino that evening. Arriving, Vance witnesses a young man collapse dead, having been poisoned. He was the heir to a vast fortune and there is ample motive for his murder. However at about the same time across town, his wife is also poisoned. Luckily Vance is on hand to solve this most unusual case.

Reviewing the Philo Vance movies is actually quite difficult. I have a great deal of material to try to cram into a review - I have to discuss actor's performances, the plot and any technical mumbo-jumbo which I deem noteworthy. However, I have enjoyed all of the movies on this DVD collection, so I do highly recommend all of them. Now then, onto the review proper. As a mystery, "The Casino Murder Case" succeeds brilliantly. It's got a large number of suspects as well as plenty of potential motive and another interesting scenario involving two connected deaths happening nearly simultaneously across town. It's a great premise and as Vance delves deeper into the mystery, we realize only too late that we've been fooled and that we fell for a big red herring. In those respects as a story, the movie is great. The execution is less than perfect however.

Clocking in 82 minutes, "The Casino Murder Case" is the longest of the Philo Vance movies. Remember, back in the day movies hardly ever exceeded an hour. However a great deal of time could have been trimmed away from this story. There is some obvious padding and the film can make on drift once and a while. If the story had been streamlined and less attention devoted to less important actions, this could have easily been the best of the Philo Vance series since it features great performances, a good scenario and great production values.

Headlining the film is Paul Lukas as Philo Vance. Lukas is easily the screen's most charismatic Vance. He does not betray the pompousness which Warren William and William Powell revealed in their performances. This interpretation is of a man about town who lives in a beautiful penthouse apartment who fences with his butler to stay in shape. While this may not be the Philo Vance of the novels, he makes for a very entertaining character in the movie and he's the society sleuth one might expect in a film of this kind. Perhaps I am somewhat biased here though - I am personally a fan of Paul Lukas, who I always thought had a great amount of charisma on screen.

Paul Lukas and Rosalind Russell
The cast also composes of some familiar faces to fans of the silver screen. Rosalind  Russell plays the film's heroine and she and Lukas have great chemistry. Arthur Byron also turns up in the film. Byron is perhaps most recognizable as Boris Karloff's victim in Universal's 1933, "The Mummy." Further down on the cast list is Ted Healy as Sergeant Heath and it's during his performance that I really begin to miss Eugene Pallette. Even further down on the cast of characters is Leo G. Carroll as a butler. Carroll is a famed actor of the '30's, '40's and '50's appearing in six Alfred Hitchcock films. Carroll also turned up in a Charlie Chan mystery, "Father of the Bride" with Spencer Tracy and the uproarious comedy "We're No Angels" opposite Humphrey Bogart and...Basil Rathbone.

Overall, "The Casino Murder Case" is not bad. Paul Lukas is great as a charismatic and suave Philo Vance. While the central mystery is good, the execution of the mystery does leave something to be desired as it feels as though the movie has a great deal of padding. While it's a good movie, "The Casino Murder Case" is far from the best of the Philo Vance series and therefore it receives a 3 out of 5 stars.

Notes: I don't have much to say here. Again, the picture and sound quality is good - not perfect but I have seen much, much worse. This movie also features the original theatrical trailer with some interesting scenes shot especially for the theatrical preview.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Mystery of the Vanishing Detective

For a blog whose main focus for so long was Sherlock Holmes, and to this day, still is, it is perhaps unusual that I have covered the detective so little in the past few weeks. Part of the reason is I got bogged down with reviews concerning the second half of Doctor Who Season 7, but there's another reason entirely.

It has been my observation for a little while now that Sherlock Holmes is not as popular as he once was. For any fan of the great detective, 2009 was a ball. In that year "Sherlock Holmes" debuted with Robert Downey Jr. as the hero and the first season of "Sherlock" was airing at the same time. I remember fondly my local bookstores promoting Sherlock Holmes everywhere. It was very exciting and for a while this streak seemed to continue going. However now, I'm left in something of a dry spell. I'm sure there are still plenty of pastiches out there I haven't read, but the pastiches I have seen do not really look like they'll manage to hold my interest. There are a few I have to get around to reading, but others I believe that I can forego.

I can only hope that in the future, I will find some more Sherlock Holmes-related items to review on this blog. This summer, when hopefully I've got a bit more time on my hands, I can get back to watching some Sherlock Holmes movies. With any luck, I can review them here. That way, I can formally give my opinions of such classics as "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" and "Murder by Decree." On the pastiche front, there are a few stories from MX Publishing, a London-based publisher who has continued to turn out a number of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Just about all of their books are available in print form or on Kindle. Some titles have caught my eye in the past, but I have never read any of them.

In addition, Titan Books, who has continued their "Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" series. After going on a hiatus since the fall, the series will continue with two books previously un-published books. The first of which, "Sherlock Holmes and the Stuff of Nightmares" is being written by steampunk novelist, James Lovegrove. The story will feature a series of mysterious bombings, Spring-Heeled Jack and even Professor Moriarty. In addition, released in November will be "Sherlock Holmes and the Will of the Dead" written by George Mann. Mann was the author behind the Big Finish audio production, "The Reification of Hans Gerber" and judging from the summary on, the stories are the same.

I am looking forward to reading the story considering that "The Reification of Hans Gerber" was a very plot-driven story and relied heavily upon Richard Earl's narration as Dr. Watson. As much as I am interested in reading the novel, I do hope that Mann hasn't simply hit "cut and paste" on his keyboard when writing this story. It would be nice to see the story perhaps have some new plot elements woven into the book, and extrapolated upon other elements perhaps in order to make the plot feel a bit more like an old-fashioned mystery.

All in all, it looks like I may have some Sherlock-related fun coming sooner than I think. It will be nice to see the detective again. The Consulting Detective has been lacking its main feature for long enough.