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Baskerville: The Mysterious Tale of Sherlock's Return [Kindle Edition]

John O'Connell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A period-perfect exploration of ambition and resentment, ideal for a misty autumn night by the fireside --Financial Times

O'Connell infuses real events and people with fiction to make this clever, atmospheric and elegant chiller. --The Times

4/5 stars... A thrilling novella... Doyle himself becomes not a villain but a dark character bedevilled by a complex private life and his mania for spiritualism... A rip-roaring addition to the extended library of all things Holmes. --Metro

Engrossing... an eerie, pitch-perfect gothic tale, but it is also more than just a piece of literary archeology, probing questions of authorial ownership and fate and language in an atmospheric tour de force. --Catholic Herald

Product Description

‘“I like the way your mind works,” said Doyle. “We should work on something together. Pool our resources. What do you say?” I said I would enjoy that very much.’ –––––––––––––––– When a young journalist, Bertram Fletcher Robinson, meets his writer hero Arthur Conan Doyle on a troop ship coming back from South Africa, he is delighted – especially when the creator of Sherlock Holmes suggests they collaborate on a ‘real creeper’ of a story. But the experience will prove traumatic for both of them. And when the result of their labours, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is finally published, it will be credited to one author alone. Based on real events, The Baskerville Legacy is a creeper in its own right: a thrilling, frequently terrifying exploration of friendship and rivalry, love and lust, ambition and the limits of talent. It takes us from the clattering heart of Edwardian London to the eerie stillness of ancient West Country moorland, where a treacherous mire might swallow a man in seconds…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 401 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GTU2YY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,486 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfair! 12 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Hound of The Baskervilles is by far and away my favourite Holmes story and on the style and format of this book alone I was interested- and the one redeeming feature of it is that it looks great on my bookshelf next to my other Holmes books. Having said that I was very disappointed and annoyed with it both during and after I had read it- to give you an idea of what's infuriating about it let me quote the author on his appendix to the book (don't worry, no spoilers):
"Of the many liberties I have taken, the most egregious to experts in the field of Doyle studies will be my transformation of Bertram Fletcher Robinson from the solid, uncomplicated fellow I suspect he was into an agonised, drug-addicted, prostitute-visiting egotist. I can only apologise and plead authorial necessity."
When the main character in a biography is altered that much from reality you know you're in trouble. I understand that its a fictional book but what was the point? to make Doyle sound like a cruel, talentless thief? There isn't any evidence (and the appendices go into great detail about this) to support any of the anti-Doyle elements of the story so the main purpose of writing this books seems to've been to unfairly slander Conan Doyle. Nice. So this book is marketed to people who don't like Doyle? Is there a single person who would pick this book up to consider it who isn't a fan of his? Ridiculous!
I don't think it's particularly well written; the allusions to victoriana are lumpen, Doyle's interest in spiritualism is hammily thrown in, it really has the feeling of being written by a tabloid journalist (which O' Connell pretty much is).
If you don't like Sherlock Holmes or any of the writings of Conan Doyle then this is the book for you, otherwise I recommend steering well clear...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit Different 1 Dec. 2011
John O'Connell's new book may be relatively short, but don't be put off by its brevity. Weaving a tale based partly on fact, and a lot of fiction here is the supposed collaboration between Bertram Fletcher Robinson, and Arthur Conan Doyle on the ever popular book 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', in Fletcher's own words.

Fletcher meets Doyle on a ship coming back form the Boer War and they get chatting. This leads to Doyle buying a plot off of Fletcher for a story, which will later become the famous 'Norwood Builder' tale of Sherlock Holmes, and then a proposal from Doyle for a collaboration for a story. Fletcher thinks Doyle is just being polite initially but Doyle is perfectly serious. Thus after meeting again and coming up with a skeleton of a tale they meet again on Dartmoor to begin some research. But are things what Fletcher is expecting? As Doyle tries to manipulate Fletcher into doing his bidding, Fletcher is suffering from withdrawal symptoms, and things don't go according to plan.

There are appendices to this story as well as an afterword, which you have to read if you do not know anything about the real events.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not a masterpiece 21 Oct. 2013
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not write "The Hound of the Baskervilles" alone; the classic Sherlock Holmes story was a collaboration with his friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson, with whom he made a week-long research visit to Dartmoor.

O'Connell's novel builds around these historical facts, and creates a speculative account of the relationship between the two men in affectionate pastiche of the gothic stories of the time. It nicely reflects the Holmes-Watson relationship: Robinson knows that he's privileged to be the junior party, but at the same time resents not being treated as an equal. If you like Sherlock Holmes, it's likely that you will enjoy stories which create gripping whodunits around historical frameworks, and that you will quite enjoy "Baskerville".

I would like to be more positive, but this falls far short of the greatest of the genre: for example, "Carter Beats the Devil", "The Name of the Rose", "An Instance of the Fingerpost" or "The Quincunx". There are two reasons.

First, the underlying true story is too thin - I told you most of it in the first sentence - yet is sufficiently documented to leave little space for fiction. O'Connell crams the gaps with all the psychics, visions, opiates and prostitutes that he can contrive; nonetheless, he's unable to make the revelations match those of the novels mentioned above. The denouement aims for "wow!" and achieves only "is that it?"

Second, the execution owes more to Dan Brown than Umberto Eco. The author doesn't like to waste research, and drops facts everywhere regardless of whether the story needs them. For example, the duo can't visit Bovey Tracey without a couple of gratuitous sentences on the history of the place (with uncanny echoes of the Wikipedia article).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable novella 8 Mar. 2013
By Kent Bookworm VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is not another pastiche on Sherlock Holmes, rather an intruiguing little story of how a journalist - Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who went on to become the editor of the Daily Express - met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on a boat coming back from South Africa to UK. They became friends on the boat and eventually agreed to collaborate on the the famous Hound of the Baskervilles - Robinson had already given ACD the idea for the Norwood Builder whilst on the boat.

The story eventually takes them both down to Devon to explore Dartmoor and places for the setting of the Baskerville story with some uneasy consequences on the way . More remarkable is the fact that this was based on a true story which appeared stranger than fiction. It is a well written short story and well worth a read.
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