Possibly the most famous of all of the cases of Sherlock Holmes, the Hound of the Baskervilles pits the super-sleuth against a supernatural legend giv...morePossibly the most famous of all of the cases of Sherlock Holmes, the Hound of the Baskervilles pits the super-sleuth against a supernatural legend given substance. As with all the other Holmes tales, the story is recounted entirely from the point of view of Dr Watson, but unlike the prior tales of Holmes' exploits, Watson has a much greater role than bystander in this story. Indeed for much of the time Holmes himself is absent and it is Watson who conducts the investigation, doing his best to follow his friend's unusual methods of inquiry.
The plot of the story is fast-paced, with a great eye for detail. As you reach the end plenty of little clues that you were receiving throughout the story become clear in their meaning, and there is hardly time to get bored as events roll on towards the climax of the story. Also, again unlike the previous stories of Holmes, the tone is more tense. There are several seeming reversal's for the heroes, and a positive outcome seems much less assured on this occasion than in others of Holmes' case-files.
Also deserving of a mention is Doyle's excellent portrayal of the moors of Devon. Usually Doyle neglects to offer much detail concerning his setting, since for his target audience London, where most of Holmes' cases are set must have been very familiar territory, needing nothing more than a street or district name to provide context. Here, however, he proves that this is not due to a lack of ability to describe landscape. His descriptions are evocative without being long-winded, and in the end few details are wasted yet still he manages to convey an image of raw bleakness that is well-suited to the story and very much in keeping with the reality of some parts of Dartmoor.
Overall I heartily recommend this as an excellent way to spend the time it takes to read it. If you're up for a good mental exercise, then I challenge you to try and solve the mystery yourself before reading the final two chapters where the truth is revealed. If, however, you are merely looking to be entertained, then just sit back, relax and read through to the end where all is explained for you by Holmes himself in a small coda.(less)
The second of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. This time the amateur detective is faced with a combined murder-treasure hunt mystery. As...moreThe second of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. This time the amateur detective is faced with a combined murder-treasure hunt mystery. As with the Study in Scarlet and all of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the focus is mainly on Holmes' unique means of solving mysteries via logic and seemingly insignificant pieces of information. Character development beyond what was established in the first book is practically nil, with two major exceptions that I shall not spoil in this review, but the setting is rendered in great detail, mainly through the observations of Holmes himself as he works out the particulars of the mystery. Doyle is also meticulous in unravelling the plot, making sure that the reader is in no doubt by the end as to what exactly happened and how everything came about.
All in all this is a standard Sherlock Holmes story. Fans will therefore enjoy it, detractors will hate it, and if you haven't tried Sherlock yet, I recommend starting with A Study in Scarlet or the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes first since they do a better job of fleshing out the characters than this particular episode of the detective's adventures does.(less)
The first of Sherlock Holmes' many adventures. The tale is a fairly thrilling one, and an excellent introduction to the great detective's singular per...moreThe first of Sherlock Holmes' many adventures. The tale is a fairly thrilling one, and an excellent introduction to the great detective's singular personality and methods. While the somewhat lengthy digression into the early history of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and their apparent use of Gestapo tactics to police themselves, which has generated several negative comments in other reviews, is perplexing at first, it does make sense in the context of the overall story, although perhaps the information it contributed to the story could have been delivered without such a jarring shock at another point in the narrative. All in all, an excellent read.(less)
This collection of 12 short stories showcases Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective hero in all of his eccentric glory. Each story is devoted to a sin...moreThis collection of 12 short stories showcases Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective hero in all of his eccentric glory. Each story is devoted to a single case undertaken by Sherlock Holmes in his trademark style of deduction from the most minor details to solve cases that baffle the wits of lesser mortals, and the cases range from the absurd to the deadly serious.
For the most part the tone is quite light, doubt in the detectives abilities seldom crops up, and he hardly ever fails to get his man, although he is occasionally too late to help the people who brought the case to his attention. Occasionally, however, Doyle throws in little titbits that allow the reader to perceive the true darkness of crime in the Victorian age. Some of the villains, on second glance, are downright sinister in their manner, and their activities would be wholly unthinkable to the ordinary person in this day and age.
Since this was my first experience of reading on a Kindle, I must also say that I could find few faults with the formatting or the pagination of the book; two things that I understand can be very iffy when books are converted to digital format. Some exotic characters were clearly mistranslated into the digital format, such as the £ symbol, which became a series of nonsense characters, and letters with accents which were also reduced to nonsense, but it was not difficult to work out what should have been written in the places where these small strings of nonsense showed up. The paragraphs were separated by blank lines, and were of a decent size and the dialogue was separated appropriately from the narrative portions of the text.
All in all, therefore, this a book that is more than worth having, particularly since the only expenditure required is the time it takes to read it.
On a side note, viewers of the recent films starring Robert Downey Jr. will recognise some of the lines that have been stolen wholesale from the book, and will probably marvel at how well that actor has nailed the great detective's way of thinking and speaking, although he was somewhat more physically active than the literary Sherlock is.(less)