The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Created: Sun Mar 21 13:02:42 2010 | Last modified: Sun Mar 21 13:02:42 2010
After a long period, I write a review again. And it's one of those books that have been read a long time ago which I re-read recently.
Certainly "The Hound" was a bestseller in its time and brought back Holmes to the centrestage after a long period of absence and certainly nobody can deny that this book caught the imagination of the public as no other book has. Till this day, The Hound remains the Sherlock Holmes novel.
What was it about this novel that made so many people claim that it was the ultimate Sherlock Holmes novel of all time? Well, I have to admit that I found "The Valley of Fear" much more engrossing than this one.
Most people familiar with Sherlock Holmes would have surely read this book and I will restrict myself to critiquing it rather than cover its contents.
Certainly judging by its popularity, the actual contents of the book do not live up to its reputation. The mystery is not very complicated though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does his best to twist it into knots by using Watson as the hero in the bulk of this adventure. This creates an artificial excitement as Doctor Watson uses all his skills to convey the gloom and eerie darkness of the Grimpen Mire, the Hall and the inhabitants of the Moor. The side-story of the escaped convict on the Moor carries the plot forward and Watson actually proves to be quite a competent investigator. As a result, the actual story where the main mystery is unravelled is limited to the last couple of chapters when Holmes reappears on the scene and brings about a climax.
On the whole, the appeal of this book is on a purely psychological level: the supernatural aura created by the myth of the Hound probably made a success out of a not-so-cleverly constructed novel. Even the explanations given by Holmes at the end of the novel do not strike one as being too convincing. Especially the part where he explains how the actual murderer of Sir Charles Baskerville expected to inherit the wealth and the estate.
If you are really into Holmes, then read "A Study in Scarlet" and "The Valley of Fear." They are much better than this one in my opinion.