Bingo Square: Back to School
I had originally started reading a memoir as my “Back to School” square but despite how much I loved the book in 9th grade, after being barely 18% into the book, I simply couldn’t handle the amount of death and despair. Given that the book covered 20th century China and it was still in the 1940s, I realized I wasn’t in the right mindset to deal with the amount of suffering that would still come given the famine and the Cultural Revolution. Instead, due to the inspiration of the CBR book club, I remembered that in 6th grade English class, we had read one of those “adapted for young readers” version of The Hound of the Baskervilles and realized it might be nice to read the full version. (I attended a German school from K-7, and was in the same “English as a foreign language” class as all my peers despite already being fluent).
I am not sure if this one is considered one of Doyle’s stronger novels but I actually enjoyed it less than A Study in Scarlet. The premise is intriguing but I felt like Doyle’s prejudices were much more noticeable in this one. And honestly, Holmes had grown more into the asshole personality so commonly associated with him.
In the first chapter, it is clear that Watson has been trying to learn more about how to apply deductive reasoning as he attempts to make a guess about an abandoned cane. Holmes appears to give him a compliment for his logic, only for it to be an insult about how Watson got everything wrong: “When I said you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth.”
Doyle also very much believes that idea that morality shows in a person, describing one villain as animalistic, and referring to a woman who made some bad choices as having something subtly wrong with her appearance. I realize it makes him a product of his time, but it is also frustrating to read.
Sir Charles Baskerville has died recently, and his new heir has traveled from Canada to England to claim his title. Dr. James Mortimer, the local country doctor, visits Holmes because even though the death appears to have been natural, he knows that Charles Baskerville was obsessed with a family legend about a hound that haunts his family. Mortimer normally would have ignored this but he saw a large paw print near the body. Out of concern of the family curse coming for the last Baskerville heir, he decides to get Holmes and Watson on the case.
The mystery itself was entertaining enough with a few red herrings and side investigations. Holmes is absent for much of the novel as he has become famous enough that he has other cases, and his presence would make it too obvious to any potential villains that they were under suspicion.
A Study in Scarlet had very few characters compared to this novel, and Watson and Holmes interacted with few of them. I think the classism, already present in the first novel, became much more apparent here because they interact with so many more people. While I vividly remembered parts of the family legend, the murder mystery had not left an impression on me because I couldn’t remember who had done it. While the puzzle was nicely resolved, after more than a century of other murder mysteries, I can’t say it was very memorable.
Bingo Square: Back to School
Bingo 7! Third row: Two Heads are Better Than One (Feminasty), Back to School, Own Voices (Behold the Dreamers), Classics (A Study in Scarlet), History/Schmistory (The Huntress)