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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) by Arthur Conan Doyle

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English actor Benedict Cumberbatch is the most recent to play Sherlock Holmes on screen.


Book Review
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
 by Arthur Conan Doyle

   No one would argue that the Sherlock Holmes mysteries written by Arthur Conan Doyle were Literature, capital L, but it would be equally hard to argue that Doyle created the most memorable fictional character in 20th century fiction.  Any canonical status for a selection from the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries is surely based on the enduring popularity of the fictional character, rather than a fondness for the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle.

  I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles at least two or three times, and I've seen a movie/tv version at least once, so I thought I would try the re-read on Audio book, my new, most favorite way to take in a book.  I sense, from the limited discussions I've had with peers about that the format, that it is frowned upon by serious readers, but I think, in many cases, it provides a better experience for the reader/listener, particularly when the text is familiar to the reader.  Unless the writing is particularly challenging, little is lost from not having the written text available.  When listening to an audio book, there is ample time to consider the mechanical elements of the plotting and the relationship between character and story.


  Out of the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Hound of the Baskervilles was likely selected because it is widely considered to  be the "best" original story about Holmes.  It was the first story wrote after apparently consigning Holmes to death in The Final Solution, written sometime after the first group of stories brought the stories to the attention of the reading public.  The gap between that first group and Baskervilles was approximately 8 years, long enough to give Doyle ample time to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of his character. 

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