"Murder by Moonlight" is the fourth and last of the CD collections of 1940s Sherlock Holmes radio episodes "Starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce". But in the case of this collection that phrase on the cover is somewhat misleading, since four of the twelve episodes included come from after Rathbone's departure from the series and feature his successor as radio's Sherlock Holmes, Tom Conway. Nigel Bruce is actually billed above Tom Conway on these episodes for his role as Dr. Watson.
"The Book of Tobit" is a hilariously predictable episode, which I don't actually mean as a criticism. It places Holmes in a rather unique situation, which leads him to take Watson's friendship for granted even more heartlessly than usual. Watson, of course, remains loyal. "Murder Beyond the Mountains" is a story set during Holmes' travels in Tibet, when he was supposedly dead after the Reichenbach Falls incident; thus Watson appears only as narrator. Although the story is interesting, the logic of Holmes' solution of the mystery did not quite convince me. It's also morbidly amusing to note that writers Denis Green and Anthony Boucher resort for the second time on these CDs to the same ghoulish method of murdering a male Chinese character.
"The Manor House Case" is based on a reference to an unchronicled investigation in Conan Doyle's "The Greek Interpreter", and is commendable for its precise faithfulness to the Canonical reference to the incident, a characteristic not always found in Holmes pastiches. This story also once again places Holmes and Watson in an amusingly novel situation as Watson attempts to investigate a mystery himself (and, gratifyingly, makes a somewhat better job of it than one might expect of Bruce's Watson). "The Adventure of the Stuttering Ghost" was the very first Tom Conway episode. Conway's portrayal of Holmes, while completely professional and convincing (much more than can be said of some actors who have tackled the role), seems very much like a slightly inferior version of Rathbone's interpretation.
"The Great Gandolfo" is a story set in Holmes' retirement, involving a stage magician and his assistant, as well as Holmes' brother Mycroft. It is an extremely frustrating episode because it seems obvious that there should be a further plot twist at the end which Holmes and Mycroft have missed. It seems to me that they end up letting a very clever woman get away with murder and espionage. "The Adventure of the Original Hamlet", another Tom Conway episode, is an effectively melodramatic Moriarty story.
"Murder by Moonlight" finds Holmes and Watson on a steamship to India in 1894. It is interestingly integrated with an earlier episode, "The Vanishing White Elephant", by Watson's telling us that this adventure happened while he and Holmes were on their way to that one. "The Singular Affair of the Coptic Compass" is another Tom Conway episode involving Moriarty. I found the significance to the story of the eponymous compass to be an interesting plot twist, but some listeners may well feel cheated by it.
"The Gunpowder Plot", a particularly memorable episode, takes place on Guy Fawkes Day and sees Holmes and Watson attempting to avert a latter-day version of Guy Fawkes' intended crime. Especially amusing is the sequence in which Holmes and Watson pretend to be building inspectors, with Rathbone utilizing his flawless Cockney accent. "The Babbling Butler", another Tom Conway show, features a memorable guest character in the form of a cruelly biting society wit.
In "The Accidental Murderess", Holmes and Watson are walking through the woods of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's hometown, when Holmes is shot and slightly wounded by a married couple, the wife of which has previously been accused of murder. This one will keep you guessing for a while. "The Adventure of the Blarney Stone" ends this CD set, and Simon & Schuster Audio's Holmes-Rathbone series, very disappointingly. As an American of Irish descent, I was actually deeply offended by this story's stereotypical depiction of the Irish as drunks who talk constantly about "the little people", and whose police refuse to conduct a murder investigation on St. Patrick's Day!