Tag Archives: detective fiction

41. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1901-02)

Tempting as it is to put ‘all the Sherlock Holmes books’, I have to limit myself to one full-length novel so it might as well be The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s got everything I love about Holmes – loads of travelling up and down on trains, a grisly death, undercurrents of sexual cruelty and perversion and loads of opportunities for Holmes to demonstrate his superior mental powers. It also features a bloody great dog, which clinches it. I came to detective fiction relatively late in life – I only started reading Holmes and Christie in my late thirties, having been rather sniffy about the genre in earlier years. But I now think it’s one of the highest forms of literature, if it’s done well, because the good detective author can completely subjugate the reader with mystery and unravelling. I love the experience of surrendering to a real master of the art. Conan Doyle does it better than anyone, and he writes beautiful prose too. I will go on more about this when we come to Agatha Christie somewhere up the list. One of the things I most love about Kindle is that I can have the complete Sherlock Holmes about my person at all times.

1 Comment

Filed under My top 100 novels