Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In this best-known and perhaps most beloved adventure of the classic literary hero, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle blends mystery with the specter of the supernatural to create a haunting tale unlike any of the adventures that came before it. The endearing Dr. Watson is at his most bumbling, full of dark fears and with a propensity to get caught up in the superstitions surrounding the imposing structure of Baskerville Hall, situated on the chilling and fatal moor. Watson's chosen method of storytelling varies over the course of the novel, and his brief stint of journal entries is a little disconcerting but certainly keeps the narrative from becoming stale. Furthermore, his unprecedented and surprisingly successful attempts at sleuthing without the crutch of Holmes's brilliance are admirable and show the doctor in a flattering light, while still maintaining Holmes's superiority of method and of mind.
Oddly, Holmes is absent for much of the story, but this clever choice allows Doyle to sustain the atmosphere of mystique he so carefully constructed in this classic tale. Readers will find themselves caught up in the intrigue, unsure until the very end whether something hellish is truly lurking in the midst of the boggy mires of Dartmoor. Holmes is, of course, as brilliant as ever and makes the complex deductions for which he is famous seem effortless. The character is at his most complex in The Hound - frustrating with his secrets and inscrutable riddles, but also fascinating and charming in his brilliance and quirks. Embedded in this entertaining but hair-raising tale are some deeper philosophical questions about the true nature of fact and fiction which make for more than just a scintillating mystery. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a provocative piece which will leave readers wondering long after justice again reigns supreme.
Click here to purchase The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle