May 6th, 2014

Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes)

book review Sherlock Holmes The Hound of the Baskervilles

If you follow me on Twitter, or know me in real life, you know how deep my obsession with the BBC’s Sherlock runs. It’s my absolute favorite show of the moment. 

I’ve watched every episode at least three or four times, and often have one playing in the background on Netflix when I’m just doing things around my apartment, like cleaning. I also love reading various analyses of it – it’s fascinating, and so much more layered and intelligent than I gleaned from my initial casual viewing.

My obsession with all things Sherlock went so far that I actually wrote a clue for my friends to crack, to figure out my apartment number when I hosted my dinner party. I gave them 24 hours to solve it, and they did, in record time! (I’m not sure if I made the clue far too easy or if I just have super brilliant friends.)

Here, let’s see if you can solve my riddle, sleuths. Leave your # in the comments!

Tell William his Overtures go unappreciated. Tchaikovsky’s on the other hand… now that’s the number. Cruella knows how many to add.

But back to the actual book. I purchased The Hound of the Baskervilles (arguably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known Sherlock Holmes story) long before my obsession with the BBC show began. I was on a classic literature kick at the time, but unfortunately this one got lost in the shuffle in between reading other books, watching movies and television shows, and real life stuff.

On my shelf it sat, unread, biding its time. Is it just me, or do unread purchased books make you feel really guilty, too?

Anyway, once series three of Sherlock ended I was seriously craving more Holmes.

The Hound’s time had finally arrived.

It’s a mystery novel (obviously), and I have no intention of spoiling it for you. It’s a short but thrilling tale, where Holmes and Watson go up against what appears to be a supernatural foe on the Dartmoor- a demonic hound that’s menaced a family for generations. Of course, Sherlock doesn’t buy that for a second. It’s quite dark, and there are plots, chases, twists, turns, and murder. What more could you ask for from a mystery?

As a fan of the show first, it was really enjoyable to me to find all the little “Easter eggs” in the story – moments that the showrunners referenced or transferred directly to the screen. It was also really fun to compare book Holmes and Watson to tv Sherlock and John’s dynamic. I think they did a great job staying true to the spirit of the books, and the relationship between the two characters is definitely embedded in canon.

Given that these books are great works of English literature and some of the most beloved of all time, I probably don’t need to stress that the quality of writing was excellent.

The clues reveal themselves slowly, surreptitiously scattered among meaningless information in such a skilled way that I don’t think it possible to guess the true chain of events before they are revealed in the final act.

One of the main reasons I love to read classic literature is the way the English language is used. There’s something so delicious about how it used to be spoken and written. I felt my vocabulary swell just from reading the prose.

If you love the mystery genre, BBC Sherlock, classic literature, or just an exciting read, then give this book a try! xx

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – My Rating: 3.5/5

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