The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 1 comment

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam SmyThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam Smy

Genre: Mystery
Format: Hardcover and Ebook
Series: #5 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: originally 1902, this edition 200
Pages: 271
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”
The body of Sir Charles Baskerville has been found on the grounds of his Devon estate, his face a frozen picture of horror and fear. The only clue is the footprint of a terrible beast. Locals blame the legendary monster that haunts the moor, fulfilling the diabolical curse of the Baskervilles. But Holmes is sure the answer lies within the natural world. Can he and Watson solve the case before Sir Charles’s heir meets the same terrifying fate?

This classic horror story, featuring Pam Smy’s eerie artwork, pits science against superstition and detective against dog, as Holmes hunts down a fiendish murderer.

My Thoughts:
I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books a few years ago and enjoy them. Suddenly, oops! It’s been three years since I read one. That’s why I put this on my list of Five Books I Want to Read Summer 2017. My library had this beautiful illustrated edition with wonderful artwork and lovely thick paper. It was one of those books that just feels good to have in your hands.

The story was interesting. I went into it not really knowing anything about it which kind of surprised me. In this book, Holmes is actually absent for quite a bit. Watson actually begins the investigation on his own, Of course Holmes comes along and winds things up in his usual style.

It’s a classic that holds up to time. Even though it’s a now historical setting the writing doesn’t feel old. The buildup of tension and the dark atmosphere worked well.

The edition I read was illustrated beautifully by Pam Smy. Her artwork only added to my enjoyment of this book.

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

4 stars Rating 4/5

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The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in 2014, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 0 comments

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mysterym Short Stories
Series: #4 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: The Floating Press
Publication Date: 1892-1893 (this edition 2009)
Pages: 207
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
Another collection of short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes as told by his friend Dr. Watson.

Why I Read It:
I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and books a couple of years ago and really enjoyed them. Most of them are a collection of stories so having them on my phone and ereader makes them great for always having something to read when I have a few minutes.

The Book:
From the Dover Thrift Edition:

Boasting some of Sherlock Holmes’s finest adventures, this classic 1894 collection was originally written in serial form. Eleven of the most popular tales of the immortal sleuth include “Silver Blaze,” concerning the “curious incident of the dog in the night-time”; “The Greek Interpreter,” starring Holmes’s even more formidable brother, Mycroft; and “The Final Problem,” the detective’s notorious confrontation with arch-criminal Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.

Holmes and Dr. Watson remain history’s greatest detective team, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s portrayals of male comradeship, the thrills of the chase, and the misty precincts of Victorian London remains unmatched in detective literature.

My Thoughts:
These stories are great for when I have a few minutes here and there or as a break between longer books. I enjoy Watson’s asides and comments about Holmes.

I don’t think you need alarm yourself,” said I. “I have usually found that there is was a method to his madness.

The stories are varied and do not follow a chronological order. It was interesting to meet Holmes’ brother Mycroft and have him show up again to assist with an investigation. In one the answer is truly that “The butler did it”.

Another of them is notable because of how Sherlock Holmes gets it completely wrong.

A couple of the stories are of Holmes first cases and took place before he met Watson. In these, rather than Watson telling the story as he experienced it he’s simply telling the reader what Holmes told him..

The final story was the most fascinating to me since it was my first introduction to Professor Moriarty.

I am enjoying reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and books. I’m looking forward to the next one which is The Hound of the Baskervilles.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in 2013, 4 stars, Book Review, Short Stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 3 comments

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mystery / Short Stories
Series: #3 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: The Floating Press
Publication Date: 1891-1892 (this edition 2009)
Pages: 243
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A collection of 12 short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes as told by his friend Dr. Watson.

Why I Read It:
I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories and books a couple of years ago and really enjoyed them. I bought this one then and wanted to read it but for a gazillion reasons kept reading something else first. Thanks to the Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge I had an excuse to put it at the top of the To Be Read list.

The Book:
from the Google ebook edition:

Presenting 12 tales starring the legendary British detective Sherlock Holmes, this 1892 book is Arthur Conan Doyle’s first short-story collection. The mystery compilation includes some of Holmes’s finest cases with his dutiful sidekick, Doctor Watson, most notably “A Scandal in Bohemia,” in which Holmes matches wits with the crafty former lover of a European king. Also featured is “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League,” a study in misdirection that unfolds to become a much larger scheme. The stories, initially published in the Strand Magazine, are essential reading for Holmes fans.

My Thoughts:
I knew this would happen. Once I ventured back into the world of Sherlock Holmes I could kick myself for not reading this sooner. This collection of short stories is simply fun.

I enjoy the asides and observations of Watson as much as I enjoy the mysteries themselves. But I forgot how often Holmes can make me chuckle.

“What are you going to do, then?” I asked.

“To smoke,” he answered.” It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.”

“Then put on your hat and come. I am going through the City first, and we can have some lunch on the way. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme, which in rather more to my taste than Italian or French. It is introspective, and I want to introspect. Come along!”

“This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.”

This collection of stories was originally published in The Strand magazine over a year long period in 1891-1892. They jump around a bit in time and don’t take place chronologically although there are occasional references in the stories to other cases in the collection.

Some are a bit predictable and others took me by surprise. They were all fun and interesting reads. I will definitely not be waiting so long to dive into the next collection of stories – The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

4 stars Rating 4/5

The Sherlock Holmes Reading Challenge
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The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Mar 18, 2011 in 2011, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, What's in a Name | 2 comments


The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mystery
Series: #2 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: The Floating Press
Publication Date: 1890 (this edition 2009)
Pages: 117
Challenge: What’s in a Name 4 (a book with a number in the title)
Source: Library ebook

The Short Version:
A young woman hires Sherlock Holmes to find out what happened to her long missing father and the reason someone has been sending hear a valuable pearl once a year.

Why I Read It:
I recently started the Sherlock Holmes books for the first time and liked the first one so much that it didn’t take me long to request this one from the library.

The Book
Mary Morstan’s father disappeared years ago. He was on leave from his regiment in India and had arranged for her to meet him in at a hotel in London, but when she arrived, he’d gone out and not returned. He was never heard from again. A few years later Miss Morstan had seen an advertisement asking for her address which she answered. Since then on an annual basis she’d received a large and valuable pearl in the mail. The reason she came to see Sherlock Hollmes is that whoever has been sending these gifts has now asked to meet Miss Morstan and has said she could bring friends. She hires Holmes and Watson to accompany her to this mysterious meeting.

The meeting leads to revelations about her father’s history as a prison guard, lost treasure, a mysterious man with a wooden leg, a criminal pact and murder.

My Thoughts:
Once again I think I enjoy the asides and observations from Watson nearly as much as I do the actual mystery story itself. This is a short quick read, but there is a lot of action and story in relatively few pages. It’s also a chance to learn a bit more about Holmes and Watson. Right off the bat, Holmes drug use is mentioned and while Watson seems disapproving, Holmes passes it off as a way to keep his mind stimulated when he’s bored from lack of work.

It’s interesting that while Holmes is clearly brilliant, he’s kind of an arrogant jerk and the character of Watson serves as such a great foil. We see the story and Holmes through his eyes and filters and he’s able to soften some of the disagreeable sides of Holmes through his own likeability and sensitivity. His feelings toward their client are quite sweet to read about.

This time around the story flows a bit better than A Study in Scarlet without the sudden change of time and place that was so jarring in that first Holmes story. This time around the story stays with Holmes, Watson and the present day investigation with events of the past revealed as told by characters.

I have no idea why it took me so long to actually start reading these books. Perhaps the age and some bad experiences with books written about the same time had something to do with it. Nevertheless I’m finding them quite readable, enjoyable and interesting. I’m looking forward to reading the next one soon.

Rating 4/5

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A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in 2011, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 2 comments


A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mystery
Series: #1 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: The Floating Press
Publication Date: 1887 (this edition 2009)
Pages: 125
Source: Library ebook

The Short Version:
It’s the story of how Dr. Watson first meets Sherlock Holmes and his first experience observing Holmes take on a murder case.

Why I Read It:
Although I’m a long time mystery fan I’ve never read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories or books. I decided that it was time to remedy that and to start at the beginning.

The Book:
After returning from military service in Afghanistan, Dr. Watson finds himself seeking affordable lodgings in London. A friend suggests Sherlock Holmes as a potential roommate. When they first meet Watson is surprised at Holmes knowing he’d been in Afghanistan before being told. This is just the first of many observations and deductions that fascinate and intrigue Watson.

They agree to share a flat and before long Watson is going along for the ride when Holmes is called in by detectives to consult on the case of a body found in an abandoned house. Much of the first part of this short book is taken up with introducing Holmes’ methods and interactions as observed by Watson.

There is a sudden shift of time and place at the halfway point in the book that seems at first to be a totally separate story set in the American West 30 some years earlier. Eventually everything connects and the scene shifts back to London and the conclusion of the mystery.

My Thoughts:
This was a very enjoyable short quick read. I was a bit thrown by the time and place shift in the middle, but once I verified that it wasn’t some weird error in my ebook I went with the flow and continued. The mystery itself was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Holmes work through Dr. Watson’s eyes.

What surprised me a bit was the American side of the story and the introduction of the Mormon emigrants to Utah. I wasn’t expecting that and was certainly not expecting the anti-Mormon sentiment to the story. However, considering that this was written in the 1880’s this may have been based on popular perception.

Either way, the story was fun and interesting to read and I’m so glad I finally ventured into the world of Sherlock Holmes. I’m putting this on The Hubster’s reading list and I’m hoping he’ll continue with the rest of the Holmes stories and books along with me. I enjoyed both the serious side of the mystery and was surprised at the parts that made me laugh. I wasn’t expecting the humor in Watson’s observations.

Rating 4/5

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