221b Baker Street

After many days of working hard and neglecting my blog, it is excellent to be writing again.

Shakespeare is done! We are now finishing the last two novels I read for classes. The first of these I read in my British Authors class, but forgot about when I was still in that series… My apologies. Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will recognize the address of a man many consider to be the greatest fictional detective of all time: Sherlock Holmes. The book? The Hound of the Baskervilles.

A synopsis:

Holmes and Watson are enlisted by Doctor James Mortimer to solve and end the mysterious curse that has plagued the Baskerville family for generations. An enormous hound is believed to prowl the woods near their estate, waiting to attack and kill any of the Baskerville family that come near. Mortimer is afraid for Henry Baskerville’s life after his relative, Charles Baskerville was found dead near the woods, presumably from fear at the sight of the hound. Holmes sends Watson with Mortimer while he remains in London, occupied with other work. Watson is given the task of collecting as much information as he can and sending frequent letters to Holmes. The plot thickens as new and suspicious characters come onto the scene in Dartmoor.

I will end my synopsis there so as to prevent spoilers, although I’m sure The Hound of the Baskervilles is a story familiar to many, whether they had to read it for school or chose to for fun. Sherlock Holmes’ adventures are famous and have been since Arthur Conan Doyle wrote them. The detective and his sidekick have been recently revived in movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, as well as the hit BBC show Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

What is it that makes Holmes and Watson so interesting? Perhaps this face?

Is it this face?

Despite the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is gorgeous, I don’t think Sherlock and Watson’s adventures are popular because of sex appeal. I certainly didn’t imagine the detectives in The Hound of the Baskervilles as being attractive. What made me enjoy the novel was that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. One moment I believed the hound was a supernatural beast, the next, a normal dog, the next, not real at all. Doyle keeps his readers guessing.

Another reason it ought not be surprising that Holmes and Watson are still loved in books and on the screen is the popularity of crime-solving television programs. Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds are just a few. The Hound of the Baskervilles takes the mystery of murder and brings it to your imagination while removing gore and adding that extra touch of cleverness.

If you’re considering reading any of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I highly recommend you do so before watching any adaptations. Doyle’s work is not like Shakespeare’s; you don’t need a visual to help you understand what is going on in the story. In addition, part of the fun of watching an adaptation is not only to see the story you love come to life, but to appreciate someone else’s vision of a classic.

Not a fan of mysteries? Neither am I. I mentioned this in my post about The Woman in White:

“I have tried to read a handful in the past, and their stories always seemed to involve women detectives who love chocolate and cats… Both of which I love! But they don’t make for particularly riveting reading. I am aware that there is a multitude of mystery and detective novels I haven’t touched and are most likely quite good. My experiences have been less than that.”

I have learned that being open-minded about literature is good. Reading ruts are what make readers give up their passion for books. Plus, The Hound of the Baskervilles is short. An excellent pick for a vacation read!

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