Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle


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Included at The Complete Sherlock Holmes and The Complete Tales of Terror and Mystery. Signature Edition. The Complete Works Collection, 2011. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4862 KB.  Print Length: 1877. ASIN: B004LE7PCM.  Authorised Version by the Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. (Amazon.com, Amazon.es, Amazon.co.uk).

51XhOQ2dEELThe Hound of the Baskervilles was originally serialized in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, and it is the third novel of the canon of Sherlock Holmes.  In this novel Holmes re-appeared, after his death in the short story The Final Problem, published in The Strand Magazine about eight years before. Its big success led to a revival of the character. Its authorship has been a matter of some controversy as I found out thanks to Rich Westwood who, at his blog Past Offences, has a very interesting link with The Scandal Haunting ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Andrea Koczela. 

Anyway, the fact is that The Hound of the Baskervilles is widely considered as the best novel featuring Sherlock Holmes. The story, narrated by Dr. Watson, begins with a conversation between Watson and Holmes around the owner of a stick, a fine piece of wood, that James Mortimer had left forgotten at Holmes house the previous day. Mr Mortimer, who claims to be not a doctor but a humble MRCS, was the medical attendant of Sir Charles Baskerville, whose sudden and tragic death some three month ago had created great disturbance in Devonshire, as it was assumed to have been linked, in some way, with an old curse that hung over his family. Moreover, to reinforce the legend, next to Sir Charles’s body were found the footprints of a gigantic hound. The new tenant of Baskerville Hall was now the son of Sir Charles Baskerville’s younger brother, Mr. Henry Baskerville. And this is precisely the reason why Mr Mortimer has gone to visit Holmes, to ask his advice on what he should tell Sir Henry Baskerville, whose arrival at Waterloo Station was imminent. As suggested by Holmes, who cannot accompany them to Devonshire, Dr Watson takes his place and goes with them to Baskerville Hall to look after Sir Henry’s safety, and to keeping Holmes informed of all that might happen.

Given that the story is very well known, even for those who, like me, have not read It yet, I believe there is no much more to add about the plot. Suffice is to say that the storyline is perfectly crafted and becomes highly entertaining. Due to its length is easy to read and I liked it very much. In a sense, it has reminded me the novels by Fred Vargas, in particular, the Adamsberg books in which we can find supernatural elements that end up always in a perfectly rational explanation. And one should not forget the significance of this book within the development of detective novels. If only for that reason it is worth its reading and should be included, on its own merits, among the the essential books of crime and mystery. A masterpiece of the genre. To conclude I would like to say that I read this book partly because of a personal project that I have entitled ‘A Work in Progress’, to collect the novels that, in my view, should be included among the 50 essential mystery books.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

The Hound of the Baskervilles has been reviewed at Yet Another Fiction Blog (Keishon), Past Offences (Rich), and at Tipping my Fedora (Sergio).

A Doyle Man by Michael Dirda at the PARIS REVIEW

The Official Site of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary State

El sabueso de los Baskerville de Arthur Conan Doyle

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El sabueso de los Baskerville fue publicada originalmente por entregas en The Strand Magazine de agosto de 1901 a abril de 1902, y es la tercera novela del canon holmesiano. En esta novela reapareció Holmes, después de su muerte en la historia corta El problema final, publicado en The Strand Magazine unos ocho años antes. Su gran éxito llevó a un renacimiento del personaje. Su autoría ha sido motivo de controversia, como descubrí gracias a Rich Westwood quien, en su blog Past Offences, tiene un enlace muy interesante con The Scandal Haunting ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ de Andrea Koczela. 

De todos modos, el hecho es que El sabueso de los Baskerville está considerada como la mejor novela con Sherlock Holmes. La historia, narrada por el Dr. Watson, comienza con una conversación entre Watson y Holmes en torno al propietario de un bastón, una fina pieza de madera, que James Mortimer había dejado olvidado en casa Holmes el día anterior. El señor Mortimer, que dice no ser médico, sino un humilde MRCS, fue el asistente médico de Sir Charles Baskerville, cuya repentina y trágica muerte hace unos tres meses había creado gran perturbación en Devonshire, ya que se suponía que estaba relacionada, de alguna manera, con una vieja maldición que pesaba sobre su familia. Además, para reforzar la leyenda, junto al cuerpo de Sir Charles se encontraron las huellas de un sabueso gigantesco. El nuevo inquilino de la mansión de los Baskerville era ahora el hijo del hermano menor de Sir Charles Baskerville, el señor Henry Baskerville. Y este es precisamente el motivo por el cual el señor Mortimer ha ido a visitar a Holmes para pedirle consejo sobre lo que debía decirle a Sir Henry Baskerville, cuya llegada a la estación de Waterloo era inminente. Tal y como sugiere Holmes, que no pueden acompañarlos a Devonshire, el Dr. Watson toma su lugar y se va con ellos a la masión de los Baskerville para ocuparse de la seguridad de Sir Henry, y para mantener a Holmes informado de todo lo que pueda suceder.

Teniendo en cuenta que la historia es sobradamente conocida, incluso para aquellos que, como yo, no lo hayan leído todavía, creo que no hay mucho más que añadir sobre la trama. Baste decir que la historia está perfectamente elaborada y se hace muy entretenida. Debido a su extensión es de fácil lectura y me gustó mucho. En cierto sentido, me ha recordado las novelas de Fred Vargas, en particular, los libros de Adamsberg en los que podemos encontrar elementos sobrenaturales que terminan siempre con una explicación perfectamente racional. Y no hay que olvidar la importancia de este libro en el desarrollo de las novelas de detectives. Aunque sólo sea por eso vale la pena su lectura y debe incluirse, por sus propios méritos, entre los los libros esenciales de crimen y misterio. Una obra maestra del género. Para concluir me gustaría decir que he leído este libro en parte debido a un proyecto personal que he titulado ‘A Work in Progress’, para recopilar las novelas que, en mi opinión, deben ser incluidas entre los 50 libros esenciales de misterio.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Ver otra reseña en Golem – Memorias de lectura

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11 thoughts on “Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. I do love this book, and had absolutely no idea about the authorship controversy, so thanks for that link — practically a Holmes story in its own right!

    For additional interest, I can’t remember when I first saw the following, but it’s an….er…alternative take on the story that I quite like:

    Enjoy!

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