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One of the best, but still a retread.
Posted by DARBY KERN on 5/25/2005
Michael Hardwick is unquestionably one of the best post Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes authors. He has adapted so many of the original stories in several different formats and has authored several great reference books on the great detective. His extensive knowledge is amazing. Unfortunately he makes some mistakes in the writing of this book that make me drop it one star.
First, such an eminent writer and scholar shouldn't retread the work of Conan Doyle. Hardwick did a great job with PRISONER OF THE DEVIL, but echoing HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES seems... a little lazy. He even makes the eroor of quoting from Doyle's book AND drawing attention to it!
Second, he weaves too much extranious information into the story, going into detail about the history of Oliver Cromwell, Watson's third wife and a convoluted blackmail plot against the King of England. Doyle didn't always place events into a timeline that was recognizable, and when he did he almost never dwelled on current events. The first page sets the time frame and political climate in ways that Doyle never bothered with. It draws attention with it's stylistic change.
Third, sort of like the first, the book begins with the same conversation Holmes and Watson have in Doyle's story, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LADY FRANCES CARFAX. The reason this bothered me is that Hardwick was a good enough writer to create his own dialogue. I don't understand why he resorted to a scene we've read before.
THE REVENGE OF THE HOUND was first published in 1987- I don't know how long before Mister Hardwick passed away. I suspect he just wasn't as fresh with this one as he was his previous books. despite my kvetching, this is still a pretty good, entertaining book. Hardwick at his worst is better than many at their best.
The book is busy, lots of story, lots going on. The hound seems like a small part of the whole tale.
If you're looking for a non-Doyle book to read you can do a whole lot worse than this- or any of Hardwick's books. Check it out. Check him out. Check out his scholarly tomes as well. You won't regret any of it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2/7/2000
My dad is a great Holmes fan. . . I was hesitant to buy a non-Doyle sequel to Hound, but he did not put it down! He pronounced it "a great read!" Please write more! !