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Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles
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Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles

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3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  209 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A playfully brilliant re-creation of one of the most-loved detective stories of all time—the companion book no Holmes fan should be without.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 22nd 2008 by Tantor Media (first published May 1st 2008)
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Jonathan
With such an ambitious, and in some aspects arrogant, title Pierre Bayard was always going to have to write a very convincing analysis. Which in my opinion he managed to do while also throwing in a hint of literary criticism of a type I had not paid attention to as of yet. And while such things appeared at first disconnected from his analysis he managed to pull everything back together by the end to throw the entire case on its head.

Bayard for the first half of the book begins with a recap of p...more
Helmut
Holmes war ein blutiger Anfänger
Wirklich faszinierend: Die Aufzählung so vieler Fehler, die Holmes im Laufe seiner Ermittlungen gemacht hat. Kaum zu glauben, dass so jemand einen solchen Ruf haben kann. Aber Holmes' Macken überspielen seine Inkompetenz grandios, das muss man ihm zugestehen.

Wie bei vielen Büchern Bayards gibt es Missverständnisse - viele Leser meinen, dass es Bayard darum gehe, Holmes (oder Conan Doyle) in Misskredit zu bringen, aus Neid, Arroganz, Besserwisserei oder sonst einem...more
Michael
I'm going to chalk much of my distaste for this book due to bad translation. The flow of language is terrible, making this a difficult read for me from the start.

Another large part of my distaste is the sheer arrogance of the author that drips from every page. Holmes was arrogant, too, but his was derived from his success in solving problems where others where having trouble discerning the mere existence of an issue. Holmes also showed a more humble side numerous times. Pierre Bayard exemplifies...more
Niklas Jönsson
I have never liked overanalysing fiction. It would then seem that I should have not even picked this book up and that is probably true. It is however an interesting read if nothing else and while I do not agree with Bayard's reasoning every time I still found it engaging. Sadly, this is not a very amusing read. Unlike "The Physics of Superheroes", a book with a similar idea of applying real world reasoning to a world of fiction, this book takes itself a bit too serious. I will say, however that...more
Sandy
This slim volume takes a clever idea (re-solving the mystery of the House of the Baskervilles) and pads it out in an attempt to be able to justify the idea being presented as a full book instead of a single essay. Bayard expounds on literary theories of whether or not fictional characters can do things without the author knowing (handled pretentiously here; much more cleverly done in the fictional universes of Jasper Fforde), he has a tediously long chapter on whether or not Sherlock Holmes make...more
Sarah W
I can't quite decide if this is a perfect example of tongue-in-cheek meta-criticism, or a nutty rereading padded with chapters of justification that essentially sum up to "It's my opinion, so it can't be wrong." I suggest skipping to the last chapter and just enjoying Bayard's reworking of the plot, which isn't without its own gaping holes but is somewhat more satisfying than the solution in the original.
Deirdre
A glowing beast stocks what is supposed to be the last of the rich and influential Baskerville family. At least two men seem to have been killed on the cold and desolate English moor by the bloody hound. All hopes for the future of the young Baskerville rest on the cunning of the world's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. But did he get his conclusion all wrong? Did the real murderer go free?

According to French literature professor, Pierre Bayard, not only did Holmes make numerous mistakes,...more
Eric
This was a terribly-written book, but I will chalk that up to translation issues, as it was written in French.

More importantly, the first 2/3s of the book is useless navelgazing of the worst kind. Do characters in books come to life and cause real harm in the real world? Of course not, you git.

The final 1/3 of the book is another indictment against Holmes' solution of the HotB. Unfortunately, Bayard does not stick on target and spends a lot of time discussing Holmes' relationship to ACD.

Howeve...more
Chani
For years Pierre Bayard, Literature teacher and shrink, has been carrying on what he called himself "une critique policière" which is literary critic applied to detective novels.
According to him, when it comes to the case of the hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes got it all wrong so Pierre Bayard leads a counter-investigation while writing an essay on literature. This book is an exercice in style of exegesis and critic brilliantly accomplished by an Academic who fights with the text, so...more
D2MillerGR
Really a 3.5 star...

I'll elect to describe this book with a professor's comment from one of my C- art history term papers, "Interesting theoretical paper."

Bayard provides some valid holes in the case, some of which may have already been noticeable to careful readers of the original and others quite unexpected. However, his own "case" is susceptible to the same skepticism he applies to Holmes' construct. The book is worth reading for the beginning, where he talks about understanding life from a...more
Lis Carey
Pierre Bayard reads The Hound of the Baskervilles, and comes to the same conclusion many other readers have: In this particular case, Sherlock Holmes was wrong.

This is a work of slightly tongue in cheek, very French literary criticism. As such, it's not for everyone. This isn't a fault in the book, but simply a matter of taste.

Bayard begins with an explanation of what he calls "detective criticism," and a recap of the events of The Hound of the Baskervilles. This is the preliminary to analyzing...more
Maurizio Codogno
Siete convinti che nell'Amleto l'assassino sia Claudio? Allora non avete letto bene il testo della tragedia, e vi siete limitati a seguire pedissequamente quanto affermato da Shakespeare senza notare le incongruenze messe nero su bianco nel testo della tragedia. Pierre Bayard si occupa di critica poliziesca, cioè di rileggere i libri gialli e fare nuove ipotesi che siano più rispettose del testo. In questo caso il libro messo sotto torchio è lo sherlockiano Il mastino dei Baskerville. Dopo un br...more
Catherine Delors
Bayard begins with a very pedestrian exposition of the plot of The Hound of the Baskervilles. As a Conan Doyle enthusiast, I found this a bit irritating. Now I understand Bayard's reasons: he needed to strip the novel of its wonderful atmosphere, its poetry. Bayard undoes Conan Doyle's work, he de-writes the novel. Why? To expose the workings of the plot, the shoddiness of Holmes's deductions and the improbability of the supposed solution to the mystery. And why would a writer of Conan Doyle's c...more
Derek Emerson
In preparation for Pierre Bayard's Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong I returned to my childhood favorite reading. Granted, the Hound has never been my favorite Holmes story, but I found it to be a fun, exciting, and an interesting read. The story is steeped in the gothic tradition with the large estate, deadly moor, oppressive fog, and desolate landscape. Doyle succeeds in creating a character out of the landscape in a way that Willa Cather's does (and you try fitting those two in the senetence.) The en...more
Brian Bess
A short book with a thin premise


This is a short book. It would be even shorter without the first 30 pages or so, which consists of a lengthy but well-written summary of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ While this recap is not really necessary to the audience for this book—for how many people would care to read this book without having first read the original?—it may serve useful for readers wishing to refresh their memories of the novel. I had just read ‘The Hound…’ and I read it, although I did...more
Lindsey
One of the most interesting books I've read this year. Bayard introduced me to a lot of new concepts like character emmigration/immigration, detective criticism, and some of Doyle's thoughts about Holmes. And the symmetry between Hugo Baskerville's murder and Bayard's solution was very Ooooh!

I did have a problem with Bayard saying that Holmes deductions were wrong, when Bayard wasn't actually present at the investigation. All the information Bayard has to go off of is from Watson's supposedly fl...more
Matthew Bowers
One of the worst books I've ever read, containing the worst sort of superficial and nonsensical literary analysis that makes high school students hate their lives. About 20 pages of this book is a recap of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, and maybe another 10 is devoted to the author's new "solution" to the mystery. The rest of the book is full of pseudo-psychological and meta-physical nonsense about novel characters inhabiting the real world and real people inhabiting fictional worlds. Bayard sta...more
Tucker
An arousing premise of reopening a fictional detective case. The literary theory that follows is curious but not especially compelling or rigorous. The author refers to Thomas Pavel's analysis in "Fictional Worlds" of the so-called "segregationist" and "integrationist" views of fiction and non-fiction; in other words, he asks whether fiction and non-fiction are entirely separate realms or whether there is a permeable membrane between truth and fiction. The author takes the integrationist side, a...more
Mary
The author's analysis is very intriguing. He is either very serious about the fuzzy area between fiction and reality, or he is taking the idea of 'serious scholarship' about literature for a ride. I can't tell....but the portion of the book where he analyzes Holmes' solution to the Hound of the Baskervilles is top notch! His solution is much more satisfying than the ending from Doyle, and his reasoning is quite sound. Highly recommended for Holmes' fans and anyone else who enjoys mysteries. One...more
Id Davidovich
Pleasantly written (in translation), but loosely reasoned. Bayard is more successful in revealing possible flaws in Holmes's conclusions than he is in concocting plausible alternatives. Also, some of the textual "clues" cited by the author exist only in the French translations of the novel, not the English original, and should therefore be discounted.

Bayard's "detective criticism" is an interesting literary exercise, but I suspect that it lends itself to exactly the fault with which he credits H...more
Rena Sherwood
This must have lost something in translation. The case that another character was the real murderer in The Hound of the Baskervilles is an interesting premise -- but that the fictional characters are alive and that is the reason Stapleton was framed is a bit much to take. Skip it.
Joseph
I enjoyed this and Bayard's book on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. This one, thankfully, has less literary theory. I wish that his book on the "real" solution of Hamlet had been translated. I will just point out that James Thurber already "solved" Macbeth in a short story.
Michael
On picking up the book, I thought it would be an outrageous and preposterous take on this mystery classic. But after finishing the work, I found it to be much more credible than I would have imagined.

Especially intriguing was Bayard's criticism of the flaws in Holmes's deductions. On my reading of The Hound of the Baskervilles, I didn't notice any of Bayard's points. But after hearing Bayard's critique, my reaction was: "Hmm. I don't know how I missed that." Or "Yes, I agree. That doesn't make...more
Marie
It's a slender volume with lots of padding - blank pages, lists of characters, a bit of fanciful prose to start off - so don't expect a lot of detail.

I got a bit annoyed with the author in a few places for his obvious attempts to build suspense by not revealing who he thought was the 'real' killer, even when this required some grammatical acrobatics as he discussed his analysis. The bulk of the book is a justification for this sort of literary criticism, resting on the idea that characters becom...more
David R.
A very strange book. There's a real problem here, folks. This fellow goes to great length to identify the "real" murderer in the Conan Doyle classic and torpedo the alleged genius of Sherlock Holmes. Whether or not his case is persuasive (and it is, within the bounds he's set for detective criticism and Conan Doyle's presumptive attitude towards his literary creation), this is at the end of the day a book about a FICTIONAL character. Does it really matter who the murderer might be? Can't we appr...more
Jill
A refreshing and somehow more believable retelling of the Hound of the Baskervilles. I find it difficult to imagine someone tying herself up in a credible fashion, but as compared to the loopholes noted in the original tale, it's a minor detail. The author puts forward the notion that fictional characters can take on a life of their own and at first this seemed a whole load of baloney. Then I thought of it in terms of over-reacting fans and the Thursday Next series (by Jasper Fforde; a quote fro...more
Ryan
I could not have read this but suspect that I can listen to almost anything read with a British accent. The author went off into a lot of explanations about what he was going to do, after providing a plot summary (though why you would read this if you did not already know the plot, I don't know) - those were a bit tedious. However, his re-evaluation of the Hound of the Baskervilles was quite interesting and convincing. I like the Hound of the Baskervilles as it is, but realize it isn't particula...more
Collin A.
Analyzing the very depths and premises of the Holmes stories itself, this piece truly is a testament to all detective stories itself. Is it possible that the true culprit of the Baskerville incident got off the hook for good? Could Holmes have been duped by a mind even new ingenious than this own? This book relays all this and more.

Although some points I disagreed with at times, the author's analysis and revealing of the " true culprit" is nothing to scoff about. A definite read for any admire...more
Kerry
Very clever, and a much more satisfying ending. Definitely worth the read.
Kyle Chmura
Great idea but the translation made it a rough read. Too bad.
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Pierre Bayard (born 1954) is a French author, professor of literature and connoisseur of psychology.

Bayard's recent book Comment parler des livres que l'on n'a pas lus?, or "How to talk about books you haven't read", is a bestseller in France and has received much critical attention in English language press.

A few of his books present revisionist readings of famous fictional mysteries. Not only do...more
More about Pierre Bayard...
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?: The Mystery Behind the Agatha Christie Mystery Le plagiat par anticipation Aurais-je été résistant ou bourreau ? Enquête sur Hamlet : Le Dialogue des sourds

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“Our relationship with literary characters, at least to those that exercise a certain attraction over us, rests in fact on a denial. We know perfectly well, on a conscious level, that these characters “do not exist,” or in any case do not exist in the same way as do the inhabitants of the real world. But things manifest in an entirely different way on the unconscious level, which is interested not in the ontological differences between worlds but in the effect they produce on the psyche.
Every psychoanalyst knows how deeply a subject can be influenced, and even shaped, sometimes to the point of tragedy, by a fictional character and the sense of identification it gives rise to. This remark must first of all be understood as a reminder that we ourselves are usually fictional characters for other people […]”
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“[…] there exists around the written world opened by the work a multitude of other possible worlds, which we can complete by means of our images and our words. Denying oneself this work of completion in the name of some hypothetical fidelity to the work is bound to fail: we can indeed reject filling these gaps in a conscious way, but we cannot prevent our unconscious from finishing the work, according to its priorities and those of the era in which it was written.” 2 likes
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