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Your Favorite of the Original Four Novels Poll

Your Favorite Holmes Novel  

42 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of the four original novels are your favorite?

    • A Study in Scarlet
    • The Sign of the Four
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • The Valley of Fear
  2. 2. And which is your second favorite?

    • A Study in Scarlet
      0
    • The Sign of the Four
      0
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
      0
    • The Valley of Fear
      0


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Of the two I've read, I liked Hounds better, does that count? :smile:

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Not really! Why, oh why, dear Arcadia, pick the one with the most obvious solution (even Mr Gatiss had to have a real dog in his script at the end!) over Mormons, Mafia-like gangs and a fabulous Indian treasure hunt? Just because it glows in the dark even in the original?

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I just thought it was better written...... :goldfish:

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Well, you are the artistic soul of the place, so, like a true Vernet descendant, you can indulge your flights of fancy! :smile:

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I would personally go with:

 

Hound

Sign

Scarlet

Valley

 

The latter two books feature Holmes and Watson far too little to be considered.

 

It is a close run thing between Hound and The Sign of Four but the former has the more dramatic storyline. The fact that I have seen it televised so many times and yet still want to read it again speaks volumes.

 

(However, The Sign of Four was the best full length Jeremy Brett episode in my opinion.)

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I remember as a kid I thought Hounds was the only Sherlock Holmes book; I assume because of the films that have been based on it. It wasn't until much later that I realized there was a whole body of work!

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Mine is easily the first one.  The Sign of the Four is a close second.  Somehow I've never enjoyed the latter two so much, I don't know why.  More than anything in particular, they never stick in my mind.

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True, Study in Scarlet does stick in my mind, if only for the weirdness of the alternate story line right in the middle of it. :)

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I read A Study in Scarlet for the first time this year.   Though it does read a bit rough in spots, like a practice run for the Holmes and Watson to come later, and has the head-scratching Mormon portion smack dab in the middle, ruining the flow, if we consider just the 'contemporary' London portions, I feel like I want to put this one first in the line-up.  This is the book that started it all, and everything to come builds from here. 

 

I like the beginning portion of The Sign of Four, chez Baker Street . . once the case proper gets underway, it gets so far out there--so whoo whoo--that I lose interest. Weirdo red-headed twins in a Gothic horror house?  A one-legged man with a murderous pygmy henchman?  This is getting very far afield of deduction.  This is a freak show.  I do like Old Toby, though.  And Miss Morstan. 

 

Just reread Hound of the Baskervilles, which was my very first Holmes story back in middle school.  As a Holmes story, it's a bit of bait and switch, since Holmes hardly appears.  As a Dr. Watson story, it's crackerjack.  For once the Doctor gets to be the star of a story, even if he is acting on Holmes's orders.  The items strewn on the moor proposing to be 'proof' that Stapleton went into the mire and never came out again--the disappeared/presumed dead but no body is identical to the same stunt that ACD pulled in The Final Problem.  Once again, no witness is around to see the malefactor meet his doom, but a lot of assumptions are made.  I have to take off points for such a limp and anticlimactic ending to the tale of the Hound which has required so many pages in the telling. 

 

I started Valley of Fear with every good intention and enjoyed it for a few pages and then got to a point where I could go no further.  Don't want to.  So irregardless of its merits which I am unqualified to discuss, that one's dead last.

 

I go  SCARLET

        HOUND

        SIGN

        FEAR

 

Both Holmes and Sir Arthur are not on their top form in the novels.  The short stories show them both to better advantage.

 

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I’ll hedge a little

 

1st = Hound + Sign Of Four

 

2nd Study

 

3rd. Valley

 

It’s pretty close for me. As Hikari said, the shorter Holmes stories are better. No Holmes-free gaps. The Valley Of Fear And A Study In Scarlet both suffer badly for this (especially ‘Valley.’)

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Even I lose interest in the middle part of Valley☹️

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As an exercise it would be interesting to have someone re-write A Study In Scarlet and The Valley Of Fear, shortening the Holmes-free gaps, and so reducing them to nearer short story length. I’m sure that readers would like them more.

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I actually found the Mormon part of Scarlet rather interesting ... it's just in the wrong novel. :smile:

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I think I'd have to say (if I haven't already)

 

Hounds

Valley

Sign

Scarlet

 

I actually liked the middle part of Valley.  The non-Holmes/Watson parts of Sign and Scarlet seemed like just so much padding to me (i.e., could have been reduced to a few paragraphs without losing any relevant information), whereas I found that part of Valley interesting and suspenseful in its own right.  (So there, Arcadia!  :P )

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It’s all subjective of course

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My vote is for The Hound of the Baskervilles, because of the supernatural aspect to it.

Throughout the book or film, having that feeling that there is something out there 😨

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I have added a second question to this poll:  Which is your *second* favorite of the novels?

Shall I add third and fourth as well?

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10 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I have added a second question to this poll:  Which is your *second* favorite of the novels?

Shall I add third and fourth as well?

Hi Carol, yes i think a third and fourth would make it a more accurate list of our favourites. It doesnt seem to be letting me vote right now, so i will log out and try later.

My No1 i The Hound of the Baskervilles.

My No2 will be The Sign of Four.

As for my No3 and No4, im a bit stuck😕 Ive never been been a huge fan of A Study in Scarlet with its back story and the character going around with the 2 pills, just didnt grab me.

As for Valley of Fear i liked the the investigation at the start, then we were off to a mining town in the U.S for half the book ,which wasnt a bad read at all, i actually enjoyed it, more so if id picked up a book called The Scowrers or The Molly Maguires. For me it left the world of Sherlock Holmes for too long.

 

 

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Another aspect of course is the impact that the stories have had. Most people have heard of Sherlock Holmes but have never read a single story. If you ask anyone to name a story we all know which one is the likeliest one for them to name; almost to the point of certainty in fact. Even if they only say “the dog one.”😃 

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Just to add. We all know how many tv and movie adaptations there have been. Most people accept, as Hikari said earlier in the thread, that the short stories are better. Yet the two best adaptations, in my opinion, are from the longer stories.

The Rathbone/Bruce Hound (the best ever in my opinion.) And The Sign Of Four from the Grenada series with Brett (which many believe to have been the high point of the series.)

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12 hours ago, Juggler said:

Hi Carol, yes i think a third and fourth would make it a more accurate list of our favourites. It doesnt seem to be letting me vote right now, so i will log out and try later.

My No1 i The Hound of the Baskervilles.

My No2 will be The Sign of Four.

As for my No3 and No4, im a bit stuck😕 Ive never been been a huge fan of A Study in Scarlet with its back story and the character going around with the 2 pills, just didnt grab me.

As for Valley of Fear i liked the the investigation at the start, then we were off to a mining town in the U.S for half the book ,which wasnt a bad read at all, i actually enjoyed it, more so if id picked up a book called The Scowrers or The Molly Maguires. For me it left the world of Sherlock Holmes for too long.

You just about had me convinced that Valley should not have my second-place vote because it's not really a Sherlock Holmes story.  I've only read it once, a few years ago, but near as I recall, it starts (as you say) with Holmes briefly investigating a murder, then switches to an American mining town where the whole plot is detailed, wrapped up, and explained.  Then it comes back to Holmes for no particular reason that I can recall.  So you've got a point.  (By the way, Holmes was botching the original investigation so badly that Sherlock's bumbling in Six Thatchers is easily justifiable as canon.)

However a similar complaint could be made regarding Sign of the Four:  There's a story about Mary Morstan, all nicely wrapped up.  And THEN the bad guy feels compelled to make a complete, full, lengthy, detailed, and verbose confession.  Then back to Holmes for a brief epilog.

I apparently needn't comment on the Interminable Back Story in Study in Scarlet.  And of course it's Watson rather than Holmes who is "on stage" for a large chunk in the middle of Hound. (It turns out Holmes has been lurking in the background -- but nobody bothered to notify either us or Watson till later.).

So are any of the four novels "really" Sherlock Holmes novels?  I think a case could be made that each of them is actually a Sherlock Holmes short story with another more-or-less related short story grafted on, such that the total word count is adequate to qualify as a short novel.  From that point of view, our favorite of the four could be defined as either the one where we most enjoyed the Holmes part, or alternatively the one we enjoyed most overall.  I'm leaning toward the latter definition, in which case my prior vote stands:  Hound, Valley, Sign, and Study.

P.S.:  If there are any votes for second place, I'll add third and fourth.

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I think we are in agreement on the novels and the adding of distant stories for the word count. As for The Hound of the Baskervilles i dont have the same issue, i feel we remain in the  world of Sherlock Holmes, even if  he,s not  seemingly in the plot for a good chunk of it. Also the fact i like the character of Watson who does mention SH many times and writes to keep him informed. 

On the "Holmes part" or "Overall" i agree it has to be the overall. You cant judge one better for Holmes part, if then you are asked which of the two you would prefer to read to the pick other. Valley goes into third and Study into fourth ☺️

Just had to google 6 Thatchers, i dont recall the episode names of Sherlock as i watched them as they came out, and seems that it was years between each series (im probably wrong). I have recently re-registered on Netflix and spotted them, so looking forward to some binge watching. 

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2 hours ago, Juggler said:

I think we are in agreement on the novels and the adding of distant stories for the word count. As for The Hound of the Baskervilles i dont have the same issue, i feel we remain in the  world of Sherlock Holmes, even if  he,s not  seemingly in the plot for a good chunk of it. Also the fact i like the character of Watson who does mention SH many times and writes to keep him informed. ☺️

 

Oh, I have no quarrel with you there -- it was still Holmes's case and Watson was there as his representative.  I was somewhat playing devil's advocate before, just pointing out that Holmes wasn't present for a large portion of the story, so  it wasn't 100% different in that regard from the other three novels.

2 hours ago, Juggler said:

Just had to google 6 Thatchers, i dont recall the episode names of Sherlock as i watched them as they came out, and seems that it was years between each series (im probably wrong). I have recently re-registered on Netflix and spotted them, so looking forward to some binge watching. 

Nope, it really was years between the series, which were first televised in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017 (with a single episode, The Abominable Bride, in 2016).  It's clearly going to be longer this time, though, because as of this month we're already two years out, and not an episode in sight.

Enjoy your binge!  :D

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