The Classics Club: The Hound of the Baskervilles

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This post contains minor spoilers for The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I admit it: I’m hooked on Holmes.

When I wrote up my thoughts on Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, I stated that it was the Sherlock Holmes book I’ve been waiting for.  After reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, however, this one might just take the top spot for me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve maintained that I preferred the Holmes stories in short story format, like in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  But The Hound of the Baskervilles, in novel format, gives both of the other books a run for their money.  More so than the previous Holmes novels, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four, Hound is more of a traditional mystery novel, having enough twists, turns, and thrills to make it the most entertaining Holmes book I’ve read to date.  Written twelve years after The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles makes it clear that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle improved his novel writing in the years in between the two.

Like many other Holmes books, The Hound of the Baskervilles opens with Holmes and Watson discussing the process of deduction, with Watson attempting to employ Holmes’s methods.  From there, they learn of what is known as the Curse of the Baskervilles, a large, ghastly hound that has haunted the Baskerville family for centuries.  Heir Henry Baskerville has been found dead, and Holmes and Watson are called in to investigate what could be happening at Baskerville Hall.

What I enjoyed most about The Hound of the Baskervilles was that it seemed more hands-on than previous Holmes books.  We get to see Holmes and Watson feel through this case, as opposed to the speedy resolutions of the short stories.  Also of note is that Holmes disappears from the story for several chapters, and we instead follow Watson as he carries out his own investigation.  As fascinating as Holmes is, seeing Watson get his moments of glory in this story is a welcome surprise.

If one were to begin reading Sherlock Holmes – and would rather be hooked from the start than read the books in order – I might in fact even suggest reading The Hound of the Baskervilles first.  It’s that good.

The Hound of the Baskervilles was the last Sherlock Holmes book on my Classics Club list.  As such, I won’t be writing about any more Holmes books for the Club, but rest assured, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles have gotten me hooked on Holmes.  I plan to finish off the series at my leisure and will likely write about the rest of the books at some point.

This was the Book #3 off my Classics Club list.  To see the rest of it, click here.

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