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on 28 August 1999
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a marvellous example of a British detective mystery. The story keeps you entertained and guessing at every twist and turn and the ending is far from predictable! An enjoyable and well written mystery and a classic Sherlock Holmes case.
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on 25 August 2001
'The Hound of the Baskervilles' sees Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson on one of their most famous and exciting adventures. Right from the start the author succeeds in grabbing the readers' attention, and dramatic plot twists and the eery setting of the desolate moors keep it held until the final page. Holmes and Watson's detective skills are called upon to investigate the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, whose body is discovered with a look of terror upon his face near the footprints of a huge hound. Could the tale of a terrifying beast that haunts the Baskerville family be more than just superstition? The skills and courage of the Sleuths are tested to the limit in their bid to discover the truth. Although first published almost a hundred years ago, this novel has lost none of its appeal and is as good as any modern-day thriller. Full of excitement and suspense, this book is a real page-turner, and a must for all fans of the detective novel.
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HALL OF FAMEon 6 January 2006
The image of Sherlock Holmes in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is perhaps the most enduring image we have of him. You see, an Inverness cloak and deerstalker cap are inappropriate wardrobe for the town, and belong in the country. Sherlock Holmes is predominantly a city dweller and city investigator; it is relatively uncommon that he treks out on adventures, but the case of the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the attempted murder of Sir Henry Baskerville led him to the Dartmoor plain. Thus, country garb was in order. This is where we get much of our imagery.
Also helping with this is that every major actor to play Holmes has considered 'Hound of the Baskervilles' to be the ultimate Holmes story to act -- rather like the Hamlet of Conan Doyle's work. Holmes was a popular film icon, and in the early decades of the twentieth century several dozen films were made of Holmes, but the first after these many films to be set in Victorian times (and not be updated for the screen) was a version of Hound. Ellie Norwood, Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett -- many distinguished actors have considered this among their greatest roles.
Watson dates the case to 1889, but various reading authorities, knowing the good doctor's occasional attempts to distort details to protect the privacy of the innocent, have dated this to between 1886 and 1900.
In fact, the novel appeared in serialised form in the Strand magazine, the great first-publication site of most Holmesian tales, between August 1901 and April 1902, after Conan Doyle had attempted to kill off the great detective in the short story The Final Problem, which showcased Holmes' battle with Moriarity, the Napoleon of Crime. In fact, Conan Doyle came to dislike the character of Holmes because it was a distraction to his other pursuits.
So, bowing to public pressure, Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles to placate the public demand for more stories, but took care to place it before the death of Holmes, in the hopes that he could leave the detective safely dead (if not buried). Such was not to be, and we find a few years later that in fact Conan Doyle 'resurrects' Holmes in a rather ingenious fashion.
But, on to the story at hand. Holmes and Watson, at home at 221b Baker Street, are approached by a Dr. James Mortimer regarding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and a family curse which involved evil forces in the form of a satanic hound. Mortimer is concerned for the safety of the new proprietor of the family lands, freshly arriving from Canada, who had a new boot stolen, then an old boot stolen, in his hotel in London. Later Holmes would put together the significance of this seeming strange minor act (no, I won't tell you).
Holmes sends Baskerville and Watson together to the country estate while he tends things in London on another case. In reality, Holmes is setting Watson up as a diversion, while he investigates the moor and the surroundings of the Baskerville estate under cover. Life at the estate is a bit strained, given the murder, an attempted murder, a curse, and all. The neighbours seem nice enough, though. Or are they? Watson picks up on curious little details of their relationship, which he reports back in written notes to Holmes (which have been redirected to his moor outpost).
Eventually Holmes reveals himself to Watson, and then to Baskerville, and the chase is on in earnest, to discover the reality of the mysterious creature each have seen or heard. In good mystery fashion, we come across long lost relatives and an inheritance to be had; we find plots and subplots muddied by superstitious belief and fear, on a mysterious plain in southwestern England.
All the elements combined that are now considered standard bits for a well-done country English mystery. But the mystery does not stop merely with the story. In true mystery fashion, appearing in the Daily Express edition of March 16, 1959, there were doubts cast upon the authorship of Hound of the Baskervilles. The one who carried the dispute was named none other than Baskerville, Harry Baskerville. He credited the story to one Fletcher Robinson, who died (perhaps of the Egyptian mummy's curse) at age 35 shortly after the publication of Hound. With his death, only Baskerville remembered the issue of co-authorship. Baskerville claims it was Robinson who 'borrowed' the Baskerville name.
One of Conan Doyle's heirs, Adrian Conan Doyle, heatedly denied involvement of Robinson past possible 'conversations' that might have taken place between Arthur Conan Doyle and Robinson. But, he did not deny Conan Doyle's possible 'inspiration' from Robinson.
One Baker Street Irregular (an exclusive club of Holmesian experts) was doing a monograph on this issue as well, claiming that the reason why Holmes appears so infrequently is due to the fact that he had to be written in to an otherwise essentially completed story. This Irregular travelled to meet with Baskerville, and hinted at discoveries he had found. But alas, the Irregular died three weeks later in America, his monograph never published and his notes were never found. Perhaps a dog ate the homework? A mysterious hound, perhaps?
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Published in 1901 (in an effort to placate Holmes fans clamouring for more Holmes stories between killing off his fictional hero in 1893 and restoring him in 1903) and set in the late 1880s, The Hound Of the Baskervilles changed from an effort to placate fans into one of Doyle's most famous books, and probably the best know Holmes story. It was so successful that Doyle was forced to resurrect Holmes 2 years later. It has endured, and is as readable and enjoyable today as it was then. Mixing Doyle's interests in the arcane and his rationalism, he first writes an atmospheric and downright spooky supernatural tale with the set up for the curse of the Baskervilles, then a thrilling tale of murder and greed as Holmes is brought in to investigate the recent death of a Baskerville that might be related to the curse and brings his rationalism to bear to expose a very human plot. Of the Holmes stories it is one of the best written and enthralling.

Derek Jacobi's full text reading, on 6 discs and running to 6.5 hours, is a real pleasure. It is the next best thing to reading the actual book. Jacobi provides a great narrating voice, slipping into the role of Watson relating events perfectly. You almost feel as though you are sat next to Watson in his club as he reminisces on his adventures with his friend Holmes. As I said, it is an absolute pleasure. I enjoyed listening to this immensely, and look forward to getting more in the series. 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The most famous case for Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective may keep its hero off the page and away from the action for the majority of its duration, handing most of the plot's heavy lifting to his loyal companion, but it's the perfect combination of the author's fascinating with both the supernatural and the process of rational deduction, the fatal curse and the dark forces that would use it offering a rare opportunity to have his cake and eat it by playing upon the gothic horrors while providing a rational explanation. Of the four Holmes novels its probably that inspired straddling of two seemingly incompatible approaches that ensured its popularity as the definitive Holmes adventure and the inspiration for thousands of books, plays and films ever since. Perhaps even more importantly, it's a ripping yarn that's told well, and holds up to the test of time admirably.

The same can thankfully be said for AudioGo's unabridged audiobook version, like their other admirable efforts in the series given a sympathetic and splendidly unfussy reading by Derek Jacobi: no gimmicks, no overacting, no amendments to the text, just the reassuring feeling that we're listening to Dr. John Watson recounting his extraordinary friend's exploits. It's ideal fireside storytelling as the evenings draw in whether you're coming to the story for the first time or paying it a return visit.
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VINE VOICEon 21 July 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
...though, for my money, not the best story.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles is a perfectly good Holmes Story, but the likes of The Valley of Fear and A Study In Scarlet, though perhaps less well known, are better constructed.

That said this, as with previous readings by Sir Derek Jacobi from Audio Go, is a perfectly pitched rendition of the book. Jacobi places the reader firmly in John Watson's point of view and really makes you feel as if he is telling you the story.

As a leaping off point, this is perfect... invest in it and immerse yourself in the worrld of fiction's best detective!
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a keen audiobook listener, I know how important a good narrator is. A narrator can make or break an audiobook, and is nearly as important as the author him/herself. Fortunately with the AudioGO Sherlock Holmes audiobooks, we get a perfect combination of superb stories read by the best narrator around. Jacobi is simply perfect, adding just enough characterisation to character's voices to make them recognisable, but never going over the top. Every word is enunciated superbly, so you'll never miss a thing, and the delivery is, as you would expect from such an acclaimed Shakespearian actor, truly superb.

The story is of course, the most famous Holmes case of all, but even though I was already familiar with it (thanks to numerous film adaptations), the original text was still a delight. It's classic Holmes material through and through, despite this essentially being a story about Watson.

Needless to say, if you are a fan of audiobooks, this is the cream of the crop, and for any Holmes fan, you should buy this and every other Jacobi recording without delay.
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HALL OF FAMEon 6 January 2006
The image of Sherlock Holmes in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' is perhaps the most enduring image we have of him. You see, an Inverness cloak and deerstalker cap are inappropriate wardrobe for the town, and belong in the country. Sherlock Holmes is predominantly a city dweller and city investigator; it is relatively uncommon that he treks out on adventures, but the case of the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the attempted murder of Sir Henry Baskerville led him to the Dartmoor plain. Thus, country garb was in order. This is where we get much of our imagery.
Also helping with this is that every major actor to play Holmes has considered 'Hound of the Baskervilles' to be the ultimate Holmes story to act -- rather like the Hamlet of Conan Doyle's work. Holmes was a popular film icon, and in the early decades of the twentieth century several dozen films were made of Holmes, but the first after these many films to be set in Victorian times (and not be updated for the screen) was a version of Hound. Ellie Norwood, Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett -- many distinguished actors have considered this among their greatest roles.
Watson dates the case to 1889, but various reading authorities, knowing the good doctor's occasional attempts to distort details to protect the privacy of the innocent, have dated this to between 1886 and 1900.
In fact, the novel appeared in serialised form in the Strand magazine, the great first-publication site of most Holmesian tales, between August 1901 and April 1902, after Conan Doyle had attempted to kill off the great detective in the short story The Final Problem, which showcased Holmes' battle with Moriarity, the Napoleon of Crime. In fact, Conan Doyle came to dislike the character of Holmes because it was a distraction to his other pursuits.
So, bowing to public pressure, Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles to placate the public demand for more stories, but took care to place it before the death of Holmes, in the hopes that he could leave the detective safely dead (if not buried). Such was not to be, and we find a few years later that in fact Conan Doyle 'resurrects' Holmes in a rather ingenious fashion.
But, on to the story at hand. Holmes and Watson, at home at 221b Baker Street, are approached by a Dr. James Mortimer regarding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and a family curse which involved evil forces in the form of a satanic hound. Mortimer is concerned for the safety of the new proprietor of the family lands, freshly arriving from Canada, who had a new boot stolen, then an old boot stolen, in his hotel in London. Later Holmes would put together the significance of this seeming strange minor act (no, I won't tell you).
Holmes sends Baskerville and Watson together to the country estate while he tends things in London on another case. In reality, Holmes is setting Watson up as a diversion, while he investigates the moor and the surroundings of the Baskerville estate under cover. Life at the estate is a bit strained, given the murder, an attempted murder, a curse, and all. The neighbours seem nice enough, though. Or are they? Watson picks up on curious little details of their relationship, which he reports back in written notes to Holmes (which have been redirected to his moor outpost).
Eventually Holmes reveals himself to Watson, and then to Baskerville, and the chase is on in earnest, to discover the reality of the mysterious creature each have seen or heard. In good mystery fashion, we come across long lost relatives and an inheritance to be had; we find plots and subplots muddied by superstitious belief and fear, on a mysterious plain in southwestern England.
All the elements combined that are now considered standard bits for a well-done country English mystery. But the mystery does not stop merely with the story. In true mystery fashion, appearing in the Daily Express edition of March 16, 1959, there were doubts cast upon the authorship of Hound of the Baskervilles. The one who carried the dispute was named none other than Baskerville, Harry Baskerville. He credited the story to one Fletcher Robinson, who died (perhaps of the Egyptian mummy's curse) at age 35 shortly after the publication of Hound. With his death, only Baskerville remembered the issue of co-authorship. Baskerville claims it was Robinson who 'borrowed' the Baskerville name.
One of Conan Doyle's heirs, Adrian Conan Doyle, heatedly denied involvement of Robinson past possible 'conversations' that might have taken place between Arthur Conan Doyle and Robinson. But, he did not deny Conan Doyle's possible 'inspiration' from Robinson.
One Baker Street Irregular (an exclusive club of Holmesian experts) was doing a monograph on this issue as well, claiming that the reason why Holmes appears so infrequently is due to the fact that he had to be written in to an otherwise essentially completed story. This Irregular travelled to meet with Baskerville, and hinted at discoveries he had found. But alas, the Irregular died three weeks later in America, his monograph never published and his notes were never found. Perhaps a dog ate the homework? A mysterious hound, perhaps?
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Most Sherlock Holmes stories (especially the short stories like The Red Headed League) are like playing chess in a Victorian drawing room. You get a period piece with some subtle moves. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a total change-up from that format. Doyle builds the atmosphere of ancient legends, foul play, and a dark moor in an irresistible way. You will find yourself looking out over your shoulder if you read this book on a dark, lonely night. So if you like a novel with a true gothic feel, this will be your main reward.
Your unexpected reward will be one of the most famous clues in all of detective fiction. In searching out who is haunting the Baskerville's, Doyle has Holmes solve the puzzle by looking for something that no one else was looking for. This is the only mystery that I know of that is solved by vacuous fulfillment (an odd concept of mathematics that Doyle must have known about).
The third feature of this story is the many fallacious beliefs about how science works (like phrenology -- the shape of the skull determining your mind and character). You may find this interesting or annoying. In either case, try to remember that we probably have many similar false beliefs today that will look silly a hundred years from now. Can you think of one?
Wrap up in a blanket by the fire, have a glass of wine, and shiver with anticipation!
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Published in 1901 (in an effort to placate Holmes fans clamouring for more Holmes stories between killing off his fictional hero in 1893 and restoring him in 1903) and set in the late 1880s, The Hound Of the Baskervilles changed from an effort to placate fans into one of Doyle's most famous books, and probably the best know Holmes story. It was so successful that Doyle was forced to resurrect Holmes 2 years later. It has endured, and is as readable and enjoyable today as it was then. Mixing Doyle's interests in the arcane and his rationalism, he first writes an atmospheric and downright spooky supernatural tale with the set up for the curse of the Baskervilles, then a thrilling tale of murder and greed as Holmes is brought in to investigate the recent death of a Baskerville that might be related to the curse and brings his rationalism to bear to expose a very human plot. Of the Holmes stories it is one of the best written and enthralling. It's a perfect read, 5 stars.
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