Having acted as consulting detective in a number of 221B Baker Street cases I was quite curious as to the format, theme and style of the iDetective case book.
In The Case of the Roped Ringer you take the role of sidekicks to Sherlock's sidekick Watson and travel to the small village Ringleton where the ringer died mysteriously the day previously. Sherlock quickly dumps the rest of the party so we're stuck with Watson trying to figure out the crime. And we're not even sure if he's brought his gun ...
The facts are these ...
The Case of the Roped Ringer consists of a single pdf-book in the classic Fighting Fantasy style that was quite the rage (in some circles anyway) some 20 years ago. Your actions determines which entries in the book you read and the amount of time your end up using to solve the case. In a sense you are competing against the Master Detective, since he is working alone to solve the case at the same time as us. And trust me ... he is no easy adversary.
It's a matter of style
The single most important points of a crime case book set in the gaslight period is whether or not the style of Arthur Conan Doyle is captured: the writing, the plot and the case should be perceived to be taken out of the Strand Magazine. And in this regard The Case of the Roped Ringer hits the mark. This author has done very well in that regard, with small twists, red herrings, rural fog, likeable characters, and unsympathetic villains.
The Case of the Roped Ringer is very much a one shot game. Play it once and then you can flip through it to read the final facts you skipped, but there are really no surprises left. That, of course, is a problem with all fixed murder mystery books, and not particular to The Case of the Roped Ringer. It lacks one crucial element I look for in games: replayability. Other whodunit games like 221B Baker Street tries to solve this problem by providing several cases in the game while still other games like Alibi randomly generate the case as we know from Clue. You can always discuss whether or not The Case of the Roped Ringer is a game in the traditional sense
Was I entertained? Yes. Very much. The case works fine as any mystery crime short story, and in that regard it provides exactly what it promised. I read through it when I commuted to and from work and got well absorbed in the story and trying to figure out "who did it".
Definitely worth a read.
Definitely worth a "play".
Worth the money? ... case unsolved.