Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Book Review

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle 

I was forced to pick this up and read it quickly. 

Okay, so I wasn't forced. But I did decide it was well-advised to do so.

See, I've been reading the Mary Russell series written by Laurie R. King. In this series, Mary is married to Sherlock Holmes.

My most recent reading in this series, The Moor, refers back the Baskervilles case repeatedly. Setting, family curse, and characters. The references became so many, I decided I needed to know what they were talking about.

See, I've never read "The Hound of the Baskervilles". I've read other Sherlock Holmes stories, but not "The Hound".

After getting about a third of a way into The Moor, I decided it was time that I know what the original "Hound" story was all about.

It was time. And not a moment too soon.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

I suspect that this is one of the more popular Sherlock Holmes, but it most certainly is one of the longest. It is long enough to garner its own cover and spine, instead of being bound with several other stories. I liked the length of this. Not too long, not too short.

It is interesting to see Holmes continue to abuse his friendship with Dr. Watson. Holmes lies and misleads Watson. Sure, it is all in the name of finding a killer, but it is a bit disheartening to see Watson be ever loyal in spite of this treatment. Does this add to the allure of Holmes' brilliance? I don't think so, but it certainly provides contrast between the characters. Extreme contrast.

I liked this story because it was more involved than many (or most?) of his shorter stories. More time to develop the circumstances. I liked the two stolen boots, one of which is returned. I thought they were going to be used to make impressions, either of a foot or of the boot itself. I was happy to be wrong. In the end, the boot was used for another purpose altogether. Nice.

I also like how it ends. The bad guy doesn't get away, and Holmes and Watson don't turn him in and they don't kill him. But he won't be causing anymore trouble. I like this.

And just a more general statement about Holmes:  He is always so right. Always correct in his presumptions and assumptions. Always justified in his actions. It certainly adds to his aloofness.

But is he infallible?

There are quite a few more Holmes stories that I haven't read. I think I am going to have to find out.

I'm very glad I stopped reading The Moor to read The Hound. I advise reading The Hound well before reading The Moor. The references between the two are similar and I started to get confused about which things happened in which story.

Don't be like me. Read The Hound. Read The Hound first.

Read The Hound now.

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