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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(3 star). See all 111 reviews
on February 1, 2003
Written after Conan-Doyle's 'Final Problem' short story about Holmes' 'death' this book takes place before his confrontation with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Doctor Mortimer from Dartmoor comes to visit Holmes with the story of a beastly hound which has killed Charles Baskerville and will more than likely come after his heir Sir Henry.
Holmes promptly sends Watson off to Dartmoor to guard Sir Henry and report back with all developments. This is the point where Holmes disappears for almost half of the book. But he returns near the end to explain the mystery to all involved.
While it is better than Conan-Doyle's short stories in terms of a stronger narrative and a larger mystery 'Hound of the Baskervilles' still suffers from long, ludicrous and unrealistic monologues and superficial contrivances. As always the story is told from the point of view of Watson. But it simply isn't a unique enough point of view to make the first person narrative worth it. I can honestly say that if the story was told in the 3rd person perspective it would make hardly any difference.
I cannot for the life of me work out how this book is sometimes regarded as a horror. Nothing in it scared me at all. The hound doesn't even show up until the end. And even then Conan-Doyle's description doesn't paint a very vivid picture in your head.
There just isn't enough intrigue or reason to keep turning the pages. The human and reality-based side of the story comes thru too strongly to allow any sort of fantastical creativity. As a classic it's a disappointment but compared to the short stories it's definitely better than the norm.
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on March 31, 2004
_The Hound of the Baskervilles,_ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery that will keep the reader guessing from cover to cover. Set in Nineteenth Century England, the tale of murder and a family curse will hold the reader's attention until the end. When Sir Charles Baskerville mysteriously dies and the heir to his estate is threatened, the real mystery begins. Doyle's masterful writing style is easy to follow and flows so well the book will be over before the reader realizes it.
I enjoyed this Sherlock Holmes mystery because it is easy to read and it flows well. For me, a person that does not usually like classics- or mysteries for that matter, I really enjoyed this book. The story kept my interest and it kept me guessing throughout the entire book. This story is not a thriller, but it is still a good mystery. For someone who prefers John Grisham suspense or a CSI type story line, this book is probably not for them. However, for someone who enjoys simple mysteries and likes to play the role of detective as they read, I would recommend this book.
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on June 24, 2003
A mysterious hound is haunting a family estate, and the new heir has employed Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to investigate the hound, find out the death of his relative, and save the heir's life. Throughout the book, the neighbors, the townspeople, an escaped convict and are all suspects.
While not a large book, the Hound of the Baskervilles does trudge along at some points. The someone antiquated language aside, it does delve into more detail and much more build up than a typical Holmes' short story does. So while in a short story, the mystery would be solved in minutes, in this book, the mystery takes a while to come forth. For example, in the beginning there is a mysterious person in a stagecoach following the heir. The mystery is only solved at the end, but with all the other events that took place, the reader has already lost interest in that particular person. I personally forgot about it, thus it did not intrigue me at all.
Also, in much of this book, Holmes is not even present. The wit and mystery are substituted with settings and descriptions instead, not Doyle's strongest points.
While a classic mystery which is still good, it can come out as somewhat unsatisfying.
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on April 10, 2003
I read this novel after an almost chronological reading in the Sherlock Holmes's novels and short stories.
I certainly started with "a study in scarlet" which was fine, then went to "the sign of four" which was even finer. These two novels where enough to get me hooked on the world of Doyle's Holmes. Then to make things even better, I read the "adventures of Sherlock Holmes," a collection of short stories, which were excellent, followed by "the memoir of Sherlock Holmes" which was on the same lines as the adventures, but Sherlock Holmes was finally killed by Moriarty in the last short story of the collection. I was not afraid, because the remaining pages of the collection of stories I had was still thick, so I knew something was going to happen. Sure enough, Sherlock Holmes was resurrected in the next collection (not before "the hound of Baskervilles", although it is traditionally given before it in the complete works) which was called "the return of Sherlock Holmes." Up to this point I was a big fan of Holmes, but this story: "the hound of Baskervilles," came to destroy everything.
The first aspect I hated about it, was that it wasn't a mystery. It was a quest behind the villain, who was knowen by the middle of the story ... and no wonder, for Doyle wrote this after the acclaimed death of Holmes. He was not ready yet to bring back his detective, and he was actually going to write this story with different characters, until he was struck by Holmes as an already existing character of his, and that he needn't waste his time creating some new character line.
The story is not totally bad, but the idea of having Holmes in a non mystery novel did not strike me as plausible.
I recommend you to read it. It seems, from the review, that I was the only one not to like it, but I can't control that. What I do not like is what I do not like, and I hope you found something useful in this review.
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on March 25, 2002
Checking out audio versions of Sherlock Holmes stories from the library is as close as you can get to a sure thing, since Arthur Conan Doyle's writing is generally superb even in the lesser tales, and the interplay between Watson and Holmes tends to be more entertaining in audio format. I therefore pounced on this unabridged recording of Hound of the Baskervilles read by David Case when I saw it at the local library.
Readers familiar with the Holmes canon are probably familiar with the story, as Holmes is hired to investigate the recent death of his client's uncle at Baskerville Hall, a gloomy old manor on the edge of the moor allegedly haunted by a vicious beast. The very first chapter sets a wonderful tone for the rest of the lengthy story, as Holmes and Watson use logic and a handful of clues to guess the age and employment of a visitor solely by examining the visitor's walking cane, left by accident at Holmes' flat on Baker Street while our hero was away.
The mystery at Baskerville Hall is an effective one, putting Holmes and Watson in the path of sneaky butlers, dangerous fugitives and con artists, while being watched and pursued themselves.
Although the story is very well-written, I was somewhat taken aback by the strange reading by David Case. His British accents for the characters seemed almost intentionally overblown, as if this whole reading was a Monty Python sketch about haughty British windbags. To his credit he does make each character's voice sound different. For some of the characters, Case resorts to a voice so bizarre it sounded as if he was speaking while inhaling. There is certainly some comic relief to this presentation, and after awhile you forget about the narrative foibles and get wrapped up in the story. I give the recording a lukewarm three stars.
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on March 11, 2002
My first foray into the work of the most famous detective novelist in English literature was both better and worse than I expected it would be. Doyle writes in fascinating detail, but ultimately his means of plotting "The Hound of the Baskervilles" will slightly disappoint today's readers.
The best thing about this novel is the world that the author creates in and around it, a world replete with mystery and unidentifiable threat and foreboding. Characters are drawn early and drawn well, usually via a pseudo-scientific narrative that presents visible traits or facts and then draws conclusions from there. In so doing, Doyle fits himself snugly into the realist tradition going back at least as far as Balzac's earliest novels, but Holmes' pre-occupation with scientific method pushes this even further until he becomes a sort of storyteller within a story; each clue leads to a supposition that is just as often speculative fiction as it is right on the money. The effect of this is one of the necessary components of great detective fiction: that is, we readers are presented with solutions that are not correct and that necessarily keep us reading until we get the correct one. Doyle does this well.
However, it's another necessary component of today's detective fiction that is missing in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and that this reader missed dearly: the right solution, carefully and mischievously tucked into the narrative along the way. Part of why we read detective stories is to see whether we are as good at solving them as the detective in the story is, and Doyle refuses to allow us to do that. I don't want to give the ending away, but I will say by way of complaint that it comes from left field, and in such a way that the reader never could have guessed it. The writer of such a tale would today be accused of lazy emplotment. The best counter-example to this is the masterful job done by someone like Scott Turow; the power of "Presumed Innocent" is largely that, when the mystery is revealed, we realize that we should have seen it all along, just like the protagonist did (although 99% of us DON'T see it all along, because Turow is that subtle). We have been teased and held in the dark not just by Turow, but by the narrator we have come to trust. When the plot is done right, the ending should feel like an ending to the story we've just been told, and not the introduction of something completely new.
Despite that fact--the fact that Doyle won't let me play detective--"The Hound of the Baskervilles" is an enjoyable read and offers insight into the earliest avatars of today's most popular type of fiction.
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on October 21, 2003
OK, the hype on this famous and classic book is huge. I was expecting a nail biting, cliff hanging, edge of my seat read. Instead, I figured out who the "bad person" was as soon as they were introduced. And there was nothing scary about the book at all. Sure, Holmes and Watson are very engaging characters and I enjoyed learning more about "the bad person" after all was said and done. But, I just didn't find anything that special about the story. Sorry!
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on September 15, 1999
I honestly enjoyed it. Sherlock Holmes I can't say it was the BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ. But it's certainly not boring. It's for all the old time Sherlock Holmes and Waston fans. It's nice to see everything unfold as Waston learns more and more. If Sherlock was narrator the book won't take up 174 pages...maybe 20?? :-) It's an intriguing story that deserves a try.
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on April 21, 1999
Another astounding story of the great Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle composed a well-written novel that is one of teh better mysteries I've read. Some parts of the book can definitely be cut down. This 170 page novel could be cut to a 100 page novella. Good action and critical thinking solutions make this novel very interesting.
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