Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Hound of the Baskervilles

File:Cover (Hound of Baskervilles, 1902).jpg
What a gripping little chocolate of a book! This twisty, turny, installment of Conan Doyle’s famous detective series tastes like the real stuff.

“I tell you, Watson, this time we have got a foeman who is worthy of our steel.”

Hound of the Baskervilles tells the tale of an old Baronet who dies in strange circumstances outside his mansion deep in the heart of Dartmoor. The townsfolk whisper about a revival of an old family curse - a ghostly, devilsome hound that stalks the moors. Alarmingly, this might not be just idle talk. Next to the dead man, a footprint was found that looks horribly like that of a gigantic hound.

Sherlock Holmes is called in, and finds this case a tough nut to crack. The old Baronets heir - Henry, his nephew - goes to inhabit the creepy manor, along with Dr. Watson - Holmes eager sidekick - and we soon come across layer upon layer of delicious caramelly mystery wrapped around that nutty centre.

My thoughts

I enjoyed this book on two levels. On the first, it is a rather gripping detective story. It seems so completely modern and yet utterly familiar. I had never read Sherlock Holmes before, but reading it was instantly like putting on an old, comfortable pair of jeans - or those trainers with holes at the back of cupboard that hug your feet like slippers. And on the second level, I enjoyed seeing how the book conducted the tension in my own mind. It was almost symphonic, now rising and falling in different tones and pitches, building towards it’s gripping finale.

The description is constantly evocative too - the words merely passed across my eyes, diaphanous, as I saw behind, lucidly, Doyle’s dark, and windswept moor. For me, reading Hound of the Baskervilles was a bit like watching TV, someone reading to me and eating a chocolate all at the same time.

“It is murder, Watson—refined, cold-blooded, deliberate murder.”

I recommend you read this book by surfing along the current of the plot, enjoying it intensely, and living in the scenes it creates. But don’t for one second stop and think about it. You’ll drown in plot holes! Every moment my mind spent analysing the plot, I seemed to be dragged down further into a bog worthy of Doyle’s fictional Great Grimpen Mire. Just for fun, on Friday I’ll go through the top eight plot holes in Hound of the Baskervilles.

Read it, live it, love it - but try not to think about it!


You can buy Hound of the Baskervilles here

1 comment:

  1. And get the etext for free here . . .