The Tales of Max Carrados

  • by Ernest Bramah
  • Narrated by Stephen Fry
  • 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusive audio collection. Eleven Max Carrados stories - narrated by national treasure Stephen Fry.
Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery stories that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in The Strand magazine, in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened.


'The Coin of Dionysus'
'The Game Played in the Dark'
'The Holloway Road Flat Tragedy'
'The Curious Circumstances of the Two Left Shoes'
'The Secret of Headlam Height'
'The Mystery of the Vanished Crown'
'The Ingenious Mind of Mr Rigby Lacksome'
'The Strange Case of Cyril Bycourt'
'The Crime at the House in Culver Street'
'The Bunch of Violets'
'The Missing Witness Sensation'

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What the Critics Say

"[Narrator Stephen] Fry gives Max a perfect plummy voice and has equal fun with colorful supporting characters and ne'er-do-wells. His lovely mix of realistic conversation and pacing, as well as the occasional slow wink, encourages listeners to succumb in pleasure." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Very Difficult Thing to Do Properly

Decades before Ironside or Longstreet, the handicapped sleuths who enlivened my early TV viewing, there was Max Carrados, the blind connoisseur and crime-solver who gave Sherlock Holmes a run for his money starting in 1914.

I had never heard of Ernest Bramah or of his most successful creation until I stumbled across this collection while searching for vintage mysteries. Tucked away in my wish list in anticipation of the next sale, last August it suddenly appeared as a Daily Deal.

Admittedly, part of the interest was Stephen Fry. Long a fan of his work with Hugh Laurie (Fry & Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster) and his brilliant supporting roles in Rowan Atkinson’s Black Adder series, I wanted to hear what he could do behind a microphone.

At first that presented a problem. I couldn’t help seeing Max Carrados as Stephen Fry. Or Lord Melchett. Or Jeeves. Or simply admiring the way Fry turned a phrase or served up a sentence—all the while losing the thread of the story. I got over it eventually. And when I did the fun really began.

Here we have a superb reader presenting superb stories. This selection of eleven “tales” range from situations that look criminal (but aren’t) to situations that look innocuous (but aren’t). Like P. G. Wodehouse, whose own writing career was starting to gather steam as Max Carrados hit the pages of The Strand Magazine, Bramah likes his characters; he enjoys human nature and can sketch it for us true-to-life without ever getting nasty. There is always—with the exception of one scene of real mortal peril—a gentle humor in this collection that leavens all the crime and duplicity. Fry’s persona is the perfect vehicle for this sort of good-natured craftsmanship. I wonder what he could do with a Wodehouse novel.

And there is craftsmanship of a high order here. Even without Fry’s expert amplification, the writing would be a delight. Unless you jot them down as they occur, it’s hard to recall all the bon mots in an audiobook. But one does stick in my memory—or at least enough of it did so that I was able to Google it up later:

“Now with regard to murder, experience had imbued the blind man with two convictions: the first that it is a very easy thing to do, and the second that it is a very difficult thing to do properly.”

It’s an observation worthy of Lord Peter Wimsey. My hope is that the other Carrados yarns not included in this collection (according to Wikipedia there are still 16 out there) might find their way to a recording booth. Preferably one containing Stephen Fry.

Carrados’ blindness plays an interesting part in these tales. While we stand in open-mouthed admiration of Holmes’ deductions from a bit of mud on a boot or the wear on the back of a watch case, Bramah achieves the same sort of wonder on a smaller (yet somehow larger) scale with Carrados’ feats of navigation about strange rooms or ability to perceive cardinal clues through his other, heightened senses.

Like the Baker Street sagas, these stories happen in a world of men who are gentlemen, women who are ladies and crime that, even when serious, never diverges into the lurid; in short, all the reasons why I prefer my criminal fiction to be of a more reverend vintage. In the shadow of Arthur Conan Doyle, Ernest Bramah created a sleuth more likeable than Holmes with an entirely new way to display a Holmes-like knack for uncanny deductions. And that was a very difficult thing to do properly, too.
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- John

Stephen Fry is excellent narrator, of course

I have read a different set of Max Carrados tales. So when I saw this audio book of Max Carrados tales narrated by Stephen Fry how in the world could I resist. Bravo to Mr. Fry. Another well done acting job, by voice only. The man is a national treasure both in the UK and in the U.S. too.
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- Carol Mello

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios