Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, by Pierre Bayard (4 September — 5 September)

I don’t remember where I heard about this book, but it was promised to be a re-examination of The Hound of the Baskervilles that gave proof of a different killer. And… it was, sort of. I guess.

Bayard spends about a quarter of the book summarizing the novel, and then some pages establishing his process of “detective criticism”, e.g. not just finding fault with the book but then figuring out what really happened. Then he spends another quarter of the book talking about the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle (in a word: antagonistic), which doesn’t really have much bearing on the question posed by this book.

And even when Bayard is actually working with the question of what really happened in The Hound of the Baskervilles, he spends more time saying “We must disbelieve this!” and “The only thing we can do here is question that!” which might be true on a can basis but certainly not a must.

What I found really odd and frustrating about this book was that Bayard’s concept that Holmes is wrong and his eventual declaration of a different murderer are really quite reasonable and believable ideas, but so many of his facts are mistaken or just plain wrong that you wonder how he managed to get a decent thesis in the first place! This might be because of the fact that Bayard is French and read a translation of Doyle and then wrote this book and then someone else translated it into English, and in fact there are a couple of translation things noted in the footnotes. But I don’t know.

There’s also a quote at the beginning from my beloved Jasper Fforde, whose concept (well, it’s probably not his, but it’s the one he uses in his books) of fictional characters doing whatever the heck they want while not on the page is referenced often by Bayard as the reason there’s a different murderer. Which just doesn’t make sense, because Bayard offers evidence from the novel that I think very well proves his alternate murderer theory, and he certainly doesn’t need to think that Thursday Next (or some other character) popped in to the novel to cause Doyle’s murderer to be accused. Does that make sense? Probably not. I don’t know what to make of all this.

Rating: 5/10
(The Baker Street Challenge)

See also:

[your link here]

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle (2 September — 3 September)

I’m finally getting a start on that Baker Street Challenge I’ve been neglecting! Yay! (And it’s a mystery and kind of creepy, really, so I’m gonna throw it in with RIP as well.)

This is one of those books that I’ve never read but that I feel like I’ve read because I saw a version of it on television, though it was many many years ago and it was the Rescue Rangers “Pound of the Baskervilles” and I don’t remember it very well but I don’t think it was much the same. 🙂 It might have been, though.

In the novel, a Dr. Mortimer seeks Sherlock Holmes’s help in a supernatural mystery; Mortimer’s patient and friend Sir Charles Baskerville has died in mysterious circumstances that fit in with the family legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles. This Charles was declared dead of a heart attack, but Mortimer believes that a large hound was involved, judging by some footprints a ways away that the police didn’t care about. If that wasn’t bad enough, the last remaining Baskerville, a Sir Henry, is on his way to take over the estate and Mortimer fears for Henry’s life.

Holmes, as ever, does some deducting and sends Watson out to the moor with Sir Henry to watch over him and report back. While there, Watson encounters some rather odd things that make him wonder if there isn’t a spectral hound out to get the Baskervilles!

So, now I have read this book, and it was good! And, I will admit, the atmosphere and the case were just creepy enough that I was a little jumpy toward the end of the book and in fact was briefly scared by Scott holding a Wiimote over my head. And then I was just confused. 🙂

Rating: 7/10
(Baker Street Challenge, RIP Challenge)

See also:
[your link here]

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

The Baker Street Challenge

I realized the other day that I’ve had The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes sitting on my bookshelf for two years now. Then I noticed The Baker Street Challenge and obviously had to sign up.

Since I gave up on the aforementioned book two summers ago, I’m not thinking I’ll do terribly well with this challenge (though I loved the two novellas I read for my mysteries class!), so I’m just going to sign up for the Three Pipe Problem, reading 3 books by, about, or related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

Ideas:
The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Something… else.

Actually read:
1. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle (Review)
2. Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, by Pierre Bayard (Review)
3. The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle (Review)