Friday, October 30, 2015

The Hound of the Baskervilles: RtK Classics Bookclub (Discussion Post)

And so it's time to bring to conclusion October's read. Sky had selected Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles for us to read this month and here are her concluding thoughts on the matter:


"Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke out of the wall of fog."
The feeling of the moor, the old house and the suspicious and unexplained death of Sir Charles lay the foundation for a spooky atmosphere. Also, it's cold. Have you noticed that most paranormal experiences happen when it's cold?

Sherlock has dealt with the Master Criminal of his time, murderers, thieves and a very clever woman. He had yet to deal with the devil. Until he heard the tale of the Hound.

Doyle lays out a plot thick with the gothic novel's romantic overtures of horror and mystery. At the time he wrote this, 1900, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was 75 years old, Dracula had been around for several years, Edgar Allen Poe's works were in circulation, "penny dreadful's" had been prolific and readers were pretty comfortable with "atmosphere".

Doyle did a great job of writing the line between atmospheric horror and Sherlockian logic. As you proceed in the adventure of tailing someone in the streets of London, assessing clues, beholding the stark and moody moor, meeting the strange people who all seem to be hiding something and stride about with the ever stolid Dr Watson we are left undecided as to who, or what, is behind it all.
Was it the butler who creeps about at night and signals out the window? What of the serial murderer escaped from prison? What of the missing boot? Where is this demonic hound?

I don't have a favorite character in this story, I am equally enamored with Sherlock and Watson, I think they are the perfect team, being a mixture of intelligence, common sense, criticism and wholesomeness.

I do love the phraseology and vocabulary. I'm a word girl and I love the good turn of phrase:

"It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull." - Mr James Mortimer

"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." -Sherlock Holmes

As psychological thrillers go the The Hound of the Baskervilles isn't as terrifying as some, yet I think it is satisfying in plot and scope. Interestingly, Doyle himself was enthralled with the supernatural world, he was a member of the Society of Psychical Research and the Freemasons. I've not discovered why he kept the Hound a natural dog rather than breach the world of spirituality. I'd like to think that perhaps Sherlock would have nothing of it, regardless of Doyle's own feelings.

If you have read all of Doyle's works and desire to continue in the company of Sherlock Holmes I do recommend The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie Hall.


Did you read along? Now is your opportunity to share your thoughts/blog posts in the comment section below.

On and on into November we go!

Reading to Know - Book Club

P.S. I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice at Sky's recommendation years ago and absolutely loved it. If you're looking for a fun mystery series, check that out!


Barbara H. said...

I just read this near the end of last year, so I didn't read it this time, but I'll share my review if you don't mind:

I was amused at some of Holmes' backhanded compliments to Watson, like "It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it"

bekahcubed said...

Interesting question there at the end - about Conan Doyle's psychic interests. I'm sure glad he left the actually paranormal out of the book - that tends to put me off.

While I've watched the recent BBC show "Sherlock" I've never actually read any Sherlock (except maybe some excerpts when I was in middle school?) I greatly enjoyed reading this and shared my thoughts here. Thanks, Sky and Carrie, for giving me the impetus to finally get into the literary Sherlock.

Stephanie said...

I finished this a few days ago and couldn't put it down! Pretty sure it's the first Sherlock I've actually finished though I love the BBC series. (I'm eager to go back now and watch their (modern) episode on The Hound of the Baskervilles and compare it to the book. : )

Lisa notes... said...

I enjoyed this book, too. Several good quotes I loved:

"To all the world he was the man of violence, half animal and half demon; but to her he always remained the little wilful boy of her own girlhood, the child who had clung to her hand. Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him."

"The past and the present are within the field of my inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer."

I didn't do much of a review; just wrote a little here:

Mark Baker said...

I completely forgot to come and post my link.

I read mysteries all the time, but my knowledge of the classics of the genre is sadly limited. Thanks for getting me to read this one.

Heather VanTimmeren said...

I finished this a few days ago, and though I have read several short story collections of Sherlock Holmes, this was the first novel-length book I've read. I was intrigued by the character development and shifting suspicions which kept me guessing, but I think I prefer the short stories of Sherlock Holmes over the longer book. Maybe that's only because I'm not so tempted to turn to the last chapter when I know the answer will be disclosed in just a few pages. :)

Bluerose said...

I kept wondering if this one would go in the supernatural realm or not, but I was glad it ended the way it did.

I watched the Sherlock episode, and hated it, deciding to never watch the show again. After reading the comments, I'm wondering if I should give it another try!

As usual, my post is more rambling than anything, but here it is:

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