The Hound of the Baskervilles

Friday, August 26, 2011


The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
★★★★★

I’ve always been a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes stories. They never fail to make me think and usually laugh. I’ve read collections, individual mysteries and I’ve even seen a play version that combines a couple tales. I was pretty sure I read this one in junior high, but I wasn’t positive, so I knew it was time to remedy that.

The Hound of the Baskerville is everything you want in Sherlock tale; great problem, clever quips, brilliant detective, etc. A wealthy family has been haunted by tales a vicious, unearthly hound for years. Legend has it one of their ancestors was killed by the beast. When the current head of the family loses his life in a similar way, Sherlock is called in on the case. He sends Dr. Watson, his faithful friend, to the moors to gather clues.

Like any good mystery, we’re given our suspects and clues bit by bit. There’s even a good red herring, diverting our suspicions. There’s nothing earth shattering about the plot, but it’s just the right pace for this little book.

The real treat with Doyle’s work is character of Sherlock himself. He is completely unique. I love his condescension, even when he’s trying to compliment Watson, it comes across as an insult. His brain just works on a completely different level and he’s not always aware of the necessary social niceties. Or rather, he’s aware of them, but they are unimportant in the big scheme of things, so he chooses to ignore them.

“That cold, incisive, ironical voice could belong to but one man in all the world. ‘Holmes!’ I cried.” – Watson (and that’s coming from the man’s best friend!)

“One of Sherlock’s defects – if, indeed, one may call it a defect – was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfillment.”

If you’ve loved this series for years or want to try your first foray into the world of the Baker Street detective, this book is an absolute must.

“There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.” - Sherlock


I read this one for the Victorian Literature Challenge here.

16 comments:

  1. I think I read this one in junior high too! I downloaded it to my iPad a couple of months ago because I remembered enjoying it, but couldn't remember the story at all. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. Five stars--I definitely have to start it sooner rather than later.

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  2. This is one of the many things I've read about a moor that made me want to see one.

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  3. Totally agree. Loved everything about this book. I also really like the movie that stars Jeremy Brett as Sherlock. It really followed the book!

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  4. I love this book too- classic Sherlock Holmes!

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  5. Kristi - It's just such a fun mystery.

    Jeanne - I'm with you, I've always wanted to see it and your pictures just made me want to go even more. Although, like you, I did go to the Sherlock museum in London on Baker Street.

    BookQuoter - I haven't seen that one! After I finished this I watch the 1939 one and it was fun, but I'll have to check out the Brett one.

    Anne - He's such a great character.

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  6. I loooove Sherlock Holmes. Adore him even. I have read lots of his stories, but I haven't read this one since high school. I read somewhere that they are doing this story for the BBC series in it's second season. I can't wait to see how they do it.

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  7. Heather - That would be awesome! I loved the modern BBC Sherlock series. I had heard they might not have a second season because of Freeman's filming schedule for The Hobbit. I'm so glad they're going to!

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  8. I first read this a couple of years ago, and it was my first foray into the Sherlock Holmes canon. I enjoyed it, and I completely agree that Conan Doyle never fails to make you think. :)

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  9. Believe it or not, but I've never read any of these. (Hanging my head in shame) It just passed me by when I was younger, when everyone else was into him. You make me want to get to it!

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  10. I've been struggling through A Study in Scarlet ever since I discovered the BBC Sherlock series last week. I really enjoy Holmes and Watson, but the case isn't as interesting as I'd hoped. If I make it through Hound of Baskervilles sounds like a good second shot for Doyle.

    Also, if you haven't tried the above mentioned series, you totally should. It's so awesome.

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  11. Darlyn - I always think Doyle must have been pretty clever to write a character like Sherlock.

    Sandy - Get thee to a bookstore! Or try one of the Sherlock collections on audio, those are good.

    Sarah - Some of the cases are stronger than others, but Sherlock himself is always great. I do love that BBC series!

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  12. This is by far my favorite. Since finishing all of the Holmes stuff last year, I keep wanting to reread. :)

    I wonder how Doyle went about writing these-if he started with a solution and worked backward...

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  13. Allie - I would be fascinated to find out how he wrote each case.

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  14. this is my absolute favorite Doyle book!...and I love the old black and white movie with Basil Rathbone as Holmes. Whenever I read Sherlock Holmes I hear Basil Rathbone! Enjoy the books!

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  15. I read this a few years ago. I'm glad to hear you liked it too!

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