Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles

This novel in a strict sense is a mystery, of course, but it is definitely gothic. Published first in 1901 in serial form, this novel has enjoyed a place of myth for its creepy setting and hell hound. I especially enjoyed the modern feel of the writing, and of course Sherlock Holmes is an intriguing, humorous character.

Sir Henry Baskerville is under threat as he takes over the ancestral home. A dark hound has killed his ancestors, and he is worried that the same fate awaits him. Is the source of Sir Charles Baskerville's previous murder supernatural or from the hand of man?

Characters: 5/5 [Sherlock Holmes is a lark, of course. He ranks, for me, with Aloysius X. Pendergast of the Lincoln/Child series. I think he comes second to Pendergast because Pendergast is Southern-- to my mind anyway. I can see clearly, though, how that hero came from Holmes' character. The other characters seem alive and real from Henry Baskerville to the Barrymores to Jack Stapleton, and others.]

Plot: 4/5 [The plot is engaging; there are slow points, but Doyle kept me guessing about whodunnit.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [The story of the hound as well as the creepy moors and the Baskerville estate raised the hair on my spine more than once. I could just see the hound in the night.]

Literary elements: 5/5 [Yes, history, science, and other topics collide for a wonderfully modern feeling. I think, too, that knowing of Conan Doyle's interest in the occult makes the novel an even better read.]

Rating: 4+stars   ****+

** I recommend it!


susied said...

Even though this is one of Doyle's most famous stories, I think it is just OK. I guess I felt that it could have been a little scarier or just somehow...different.

I am currently playing the PC game and the storyline is nothing like the Doyle story!

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