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The Hounding

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Tall, thin, androgynous Shirley Combs considers herself the world's greatest living detective because she uses the methods and casebook of Sherlock Holmes to solve crimes of the gentry of the American city most closely resembling London, England -- in terms of the weather, at least. Sidekick/narrator Dr. Mary Watson both delights in and is frustrated by her partner's behav ...more
Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published May 9th 2012 by McCorkle Ink (first published October 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.30  · 
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Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers, Sherlock Holmes fans
Ah, to say it from the very beginning, the title put me off track. In the sense, that I may not have picked up this book based solely on the title. However, I'm extremely glad I did pick it up.

This book hooked me from the very start and its lovely pace made sure to hold my attention. Taking Shirley and Mary as the main characters, it immediately reminded me of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. But it is entirely different from it, more like a Sherlock Holmes, but full
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Hounding is a sweet little cozy written after the style of Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes stories. The detective in this case is a woman—the cleverly named Shirley Combs. Her sidekick is Dr. Mary Watson. I think it would help to have read the Holmes books to appreciate the device the author is using, and also to understand what might seem like a slow pace to a reader expecting a more ordinary, contemporary mystery.

The story begins with a horrific murder in which a woman is killed
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Complete Review on A Book and A Review:

A comfortable lil' cozy, I felt that The Hounding was a really well written Indie book. Keep in mind that it is a cozy mystery, but it doesn't beat the reader over the head with the traditional definition of the "silly" cozy mystery! The book offered an excellent storyline, awesome twists and turns and wonderfully developed characters. Being a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I love to read "plays" on his character and Ms. de Helen did a wonderf
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like detective mysteries
Though tagged as a lesbian/gay title the content here is straight up mystery. The lgbt elements simmer around the edges with a bisexual deceased woman (she was married a man and having an affair with a woman). Still this novel has much more in common with the Holmes/Watson stories off which it riffs for its leading lady detective and sidekick. Lovers of Holmes-like mystery solving should enjoy this one. the sidekick is the narrator, with a long-suffering but heeled admiration of her detective le ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson are drawn into a fascinating mystery in Sandra De Helen’s The Hounding. Set in and around a very convincing Portland Oregon, filled with realistic characters, twisting through red herrings and mysterious clues, and pleasingly logical, this novel is first in the author’s Shirley Combs/Dr. Watson series. And yes, the connection with England’s famous Sherlock Holmes is deliberate—it also works very well.

There are plenty of suspects, all nicely organized, to keep th
Linda Pettit
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
DeHelen's clever concept and thorough development of the unique characters, combined with a writing style that kept the story moving through all its unexpected twists and turns, made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. A bonus, at least for me - an occasional visitor to the beautiful city of Portland, OR -- was DeHelen's inclusion of local places and geography. As a feminist I am always happy to read literature that includes that viewpoint; for it to be included in one of my favorite genres was a ...more
Advait Borate
Oct 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
A Holmes-esque mystery novel set in Portland. Though I found the plot to be simplistic and the end hap hazard I must say that the narration was good. The similarities to Sherlock, more so to Dr Watson are both funny and provide respite from an otherwise monotonous narrative. I am not sure if Shirley Combs would be the greatest living detective, but Dr Mary Watson would certainly get my vote for the best side-kick to a detective!!! :)
Tom Park
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
While I liked the work for the most part, near the end I was becoming disenchanted with Dr. Watson. Not having read and of the Sherlock Holmes stories, I don't know if the author was trying to clone The Hound with the Hounding. It takes a little getting used to, but on the whole, I would read more of her work.
Victoria Lovell
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book and following the clues. I did find it dragged a little. It was a little hard for me to get into reading from a narrators perspective, but after a little while you get used to it. Didn't know who the killer was until the end!
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once again, de Helen has delighted and wowed me! Mary & Shirley are a modern day, feminine play on Holmes & Watson without being hokey or gimmicky. Actually, their personalities, behaviors and interactions, with not only each other but the clients and suspects, put me in mind of a female version of the comedy duo of Leonard & Sheldon from the show The Big Bang Theory.

Mild-mannered Mary drew a parallel of the easygoing, underappreciated, longsuffering Leonard. Shirley, for me, cleverly parodied
Apr 25, 2017 added it
Shelves: lesbian-mystery
Pastiche: “ a literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of previous work." For decades, the word pastiche was commonly used to refer to stories about Sherlock Holmes that were not written by A. Conan Doyle. Perhaps the most famous is The Seven-Percent Solution, which was a best seller for Nicholas Meyer in 1974. More recently, Laurie R. King (who also writes lesbian mysteries featuring Kate Martinelli) has created the Mary Russell Mystery Series, which features t ...more
Peggy Bird
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shirley Combs (works best when you say it out loud) and her reluctant assistant Dr. Mary Watson form a team of crime-solving Portlanders who rival their London idols in their skills of deduction. And what a crime they have to solve. A wealthy woman who wants to use her money to turn the Northwest logging industry on its ear is frightened to death by vicious dogs, something she has feared all her life. The story winds through Portland and its suburbs as Combs and Watson investigate a collection o ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an interesting retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles with reimagined, uber characters. I think the facts and clues surrounding the case could have used a little work, and with a couple re-reads and re-writes it would have been a great little story (I say this because the original and all subsequently reimagined characters implied to be Sherlock Holmes (that I'm familiar with) are known for their deductive reasoning skills; some of the jumps made in this book would have been much be ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a rather odd book. Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson (notice the name resemblance to Sherlock Holmes and Watson and you can guess the premise of the story). A wealthy woman is attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. Shirley Combs and Dr. Watson look into the incident (which again bears a strong resemblance to Hound of the Baskervilles)and find that the victim is a descendant of the original Baskerville family and had a fear of being attacked by dogs. The victim was worth over a billion d ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I listened to the Audio version of this story. Needing to take a business trip this week, I was looking for a story between 3-4 hours to help pass the time while traveling. This was 4 hours well spent. Jesus Reed's narration was very good. She had good pace, inflections, and tone. I also liked the differing voices between the genders.

The Hounding is a story that is written in the vein of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with the same mysterious characters, several of whom h
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This wasn't quite what I was expecting. The title and description made me think that wolves or werewolves were going to be involved with a bit of action. It didn't have any of that.A couple of times I almost gave up on it because there wasn't really any of the action that I thought it would have and I almost got bored. The ending almost seemed anti-climatic. I don't think mysteries are for me but if you are into mysteries, it's a decent read.
Deirdre S.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd give this 3.5 stars, with the potential for sequels to rate higher. A minor few instances where I felt the author pulled things out of her hat rather than laying the groundwork, but none were fatal flaws. If this becomes a series, I'd read the next one out with a hopeful outlook.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The mystery unfolding process was done well in this book; I didn't guess who did it. But I disliked the main characters and some of the situations were a bit too hokey for me.
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I still have the book from which I learned to read at the age of four. It is Now We are Six by A. A. Milne. I am a voracious reader, and now I write and read every day.

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