Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ms. Hen reviews HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and ponders the problem with the tidiness of mysteries

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Ms. Hen had never read any Sherlock Holmes novels or short stories before, and she came to read this one because she enjoys the BBC show SHERLOCK. She knew there was a book by the same name as one of the episodes and she decided to read it.

The book is very different from the TV episode. The only similarities are the giant hound and some of the characters names. She did enjoy reading it. But for the most part, Sherlock Holmes was not on the main stage in this novel. She wanted more of him, of his cleverness in figuring things out. Sherlock Holmes, the character is like science fiction rather than mystery, because it is almost magical the way he can just decipher a person and a situation.

The novel is about a baronet, Sir Charles Baskerville, who is found dead. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are hired to solve the mystery of how the event occurred. Sherlock sends Watson to Devonshire with the heir, Sir Henry, who has inherited the house and all the money. Watson is given orders by Sherlock not to let Henry out of his sight.

But of course, he does get out of his sight. And danger finds its way to him. He doesn’t get murdered, but it does come close.

Everyone in the area knows about the hound. Ms. Hen had no idea what kind of hound it was until the very end when Sherlock gives a long soliloquy about what really happened.

Ms. Hen is not a big mystery fan because they are usually solved very neatly in the end. The perpetrator always gets caught and that person usually dies or goes to jail in the end. Ms. Hen doesn’t like mysteries because they’re not like real life. In real life, not everything gets tied up in a nice little package.

Real life is messy and Ms. Hen likes it that way. Like a good messy chicken coop, or messy food, or a screwed up situation. But she does like Sherlock Holmes. Because she wonders if someone could actually be that smart and just size up everything about a person just by appearances. Sherlock himself could by the mystery.

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