• The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

  • Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.
  • By: Nicholas Meyer
  • Narrated by: David Case
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This "rediscovered" Sherlock Holmes adventure recounts the unique collaboration of Holmes and Sigmund Freud in the solution of a mystery on which the lives of millions may depend.
©1993 Nicholas Meyer (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A gem....Delightful reading for everyone." ( The Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Did I Get the Same Book Everyone Else Got?

When this book was released in 1974, it was hailed nearly universally as a popular masterpiece. It kicked off the modern era of Holmes pastiche. Two years later it was made into a movie. Indeed, Nicholas Meyer is a respected writer in my book. I recently enjoyed the 3rd book in this series, The Canary Trainer (yes, I read them out of order), and so with all these factors combined, I had extremely high hopes for this one.

And yet... this book is complete and utter garbage. Ok, maybe not complete, but certainly utter.

In the Holmes canon, "The Final Problem" is the infamous story where Holmes and Moriarty face off in their mortal encounter at the Reichenbach Falls. This book takes the approach that a newly-discovred manuscript from Watson reveals that the original tale was just the cover story, and now he's at liberty to explain "what really happened." So picture if you will, Moriarty as merely a victim in the cocaine-induced madness of Holmes' addiction. The basic setup is that Watson enlists Mycroft Holmes to create the trail for our detective to follow so that he can face and ultimately beat his cocaine addiction with the help of Sigmund Freud. Ultimately the therapy works to an extent, but what finally ends the addiction is, of course, another mystery to solve. The mystery itself isn't bad, it's just 2/3 of the book is this other setup to get to it. Too little, too late. And so, this is where Holmes was for those missing 3 years when the world thought he was dead. Yeah, right... So essentially what made this book popular had nothing to do with it being a Holmes story and everything to do with the popularity of the drug culture of the 1970s.

In all fairness, this would be somewhat interesting if the character of Holmes were actually written as well as I know Meyer to be capable of writing him (which is to say spot-on with ACD's version), and if the liberties taken with both character and the classic story simply... weren't. It's simply too incredible for a respectful Sherlockian to accept. It's a bold setup to be sure, but let's look at it for what it really is: a rather direct 1970s social commentary on cocaine use and drug abuse in general. Put simply, it does not belong anywhere near the name of Sherlock Holmes.

Casual and/or more forgiving fans of Holmes will no doubt find this to be a far better read than I did. Indeed, the reception has already proven that for decades. The prose is well-written, the characters of all concerned with the notable exceptions of Holmes and Moriarty are spot-on, and the idea truly isn't as far-fetched as it could seem at first glance. I suspect that if 1990s Meyer had reworked this entire story from the ground up, it could have been something special. As it stands, it's just drivel. It's one thing to fill in gaps between stories, and it's one thing to maybe add something to an existing story to add a different perspective to it without changing the original's trajectory. It's something else entirely to re-write something from the ground up to suit the author's personal fetishes. We have a label for that: bad fan fiction. For this Sherlockian, it's unforgivable, especially from a writer of this caliber. Having said that, I can't tell someone not to read this book. Clearly it had an impact and an audience. It's just a matter of determining if you are that audience.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story - Bad audio quality

I had been wanting to read this for some time, and am enjoying it, but the audio portion was apparently converted from an ancient audiotape and the quality is bad. At times it sounds like two tracks are running at the same time, one slightly ahead of the other.

11 people found this helpful

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Good story, baaaaaad narrator

Liked the story but the narrator was bad. Voices didn't fit the characters at all.

1 person found this helpful

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Could've been fooled.

Impressively, Nicholas Meyer captures and replicates the voice and style of A.C. Doyle perfectly in this excellent Holmes mystery. Word.

1 person found this helpful

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a winner

I normally listen to a book a couple times. this one is one I will be recommending. the book ties in a simple case with an exciting chase and an ending which neatly ties it all together. I know I will be listening to this may more times to come.

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audible, please clean up this recording.

you can still hear at one point" end of side. three" and there are a few times where there are long pauses between their narration where there is another break or two in the tapes. The narration is fantastic, the story is terrific, it's just the actual presentation from audible that leaves a lot to be desired.

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Like nails on a chalkboard

I love the story, the author is great, the performance… Sherlock Holmes sounds mentally ill through the whole book. Well I can only say 12 chapters, because I could not listen anymore. I have ordered the book online so I can finish the story. Again, nothing against the author. Excellent story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun with Freud

Who could imagine a more fascinating collusion than that of the minds of Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud? The Author takes us on a titillating ride through the turn-of-the-century landscapes of Austria and minds of two great thinkers (one fictional, one real) as they intersect to solve a crime most foul. The narrator does an excellent job acting the parts of the varied roles he takes on. Good fun; I couldn't put it down!

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One of the better Sherlock Holmes pastiches

I was 10 years old when the book was first printed and, by that time, had already read the entire original "Canon" of books and stories written by Conan Doyle. This was my first exposure to Holmes material written by someone else. I confess I was not impressed at the time. Now, 45 plus years later, I have a greater appreciation of this work.

It is rather slow going at first. There are almost two distinct parts to the book which become evident to the listener. Nicholas Mayer puts forth some ideas which challenge much of what the original works were built upon. I'll leave you to decide if you like them or not.

My final comment regards the narrator. In my opinion he plays Watson as a bit too gruff, and his voice for Holmes is so clipped and has an usual pitch to it that it can be outputting. Surprisingly, his Sigmund Freud was his best character. However, by the end of the book, I had come to accept him as a good performer who does all the parts justice.

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Holmes, Holmes, Holmes

Great Holmes story! Definitely worth the listen. The reader does a great job narrating the story.