Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I must confess I’ve watched quite a few movies based on Sherlock Holmes’ stories, but have not read any of Doyle’s books. I was pleased with my first foray into his mystery novels. The writing in The Hound of the Baskervilles  was good enough to keep me interested and was suspenseful without being horrific. The opening of chapter fourteen (told from Watson’s point of view) gives just one example of the book’s charm:

One of Sherlock Holme’s defects – if indeed, one may call it a defect – was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfillment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants. I had often suffered under it, but never more so than during that long drive in the darkness. The great ordeal was in front of us; at last we were about to make the final effort, and yet Holmes had said nothing, and I could only surmise what his course of action would be. My nerves thrilled with anticipation when at last the cold wind upon our faces and the dark, void spaces on either side of the narrow road told me that we were back upon the moor once again. Every stride of the horses and every turn of the wheels was taking us nearer to our supreme adventure…

(Before I lost my internet connections I listened to the first half of this book via the Classic Tales Podcast. B.J. Harris does a great job. Check out his site to see if it’s still available. If not, check out the book!)

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