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Your Favorite of the Original Four Novels Poll


Carterofmars
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Your Favorite Holmes Novel  

45 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
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • The Valley of Fear
      0


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Having finally read all four novels, I have cast my vote for Hound of the Baskervilles.  I think one reason I enjoyed it so much is that (unlike the other three) it's all told from Watson's point of view -- so I care more about what's happening than I would if all the characters were strangers.

 

I'm a sucker for first-person narratives anyhow.  I think that's one reason why I like Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories (as told by his legman, Archie Goodwin) far better than I do Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason stories (as told by an omniscient third-person narrator).

 

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Having finally read all four novels, I have cast my vote for Hound of the Baskervilles.

 

Yay, Carol! You finally read it through, hm? Glad to find you like it best, too. Did you think it was scary? And did you know in advance who the villain was?

 

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Yes, I did, so it wasn't a suspense story (or particularly scary) for me.  Not only had I already seen the Granada episode, but the DVD commentary for "Hounds" also mentions who done it.

 

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I finally read all of the novels too. Well it was few weeks ago actually. But I have to agree with Carol, The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the best of the four, closely followed by The Valley of Fear.

 

I was quite surprised that I liked The Hound so much because I knew before I started reading it that Sherlock wouldn't be there much and I thought it would be boring without him. But it was really good.

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If I had to rate all four right now, I guess it'd be:

 

Hound

Valley

Sign

Study

 

That is subject to change (for one thing, it's been a few years since I read those last two), but I suspect Hound will always come out on top.

 

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I must say "the Sign of Four" is the one that does it for me. It has so many elements that present the culture of Victorian London.

 

This is my "Hound"

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I have noticed that I did not list the four novels in the order I like them so here it is:

 

                                                           A Study in Scarlet

                                                           Hounds of the Baskervilles

                                                           The Valley of Fear

                                                            The Sign of Four

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  • 2 months later...

I went with The Hound of the Baskervilles, I love the way it starts with the thieft of footwear and then Watson being allowed to investigate before Holmes makes a return. 

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  • 3 months later...

I have only just read 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' so I'm not going to comment until I have read the others.

 

 

Edited by Carol the Dabbler
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I just got 2 of them, can't wait to read them. I never cared much for Sherlock, not even the Robert Downey movie, and also, not even the disney movie as a kid :D!!!

It wasn't until BBC's sherlock I cared. I have to read the books to find out if I actually care, or if it's just the series I love.
The same with Doctor Who, haven't seen the old ones yet, but I'm obsessed with those from 2005.

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I enjoyed A Study in Scarlett for the most part, but that big chunk in the middle (I know it's important to understand the story), but I wanted to just get back to Holmes and Watson, so I found that bit a little boring to be honest.  

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Which is why a lot of people are leaving that whole wild west part out. Nothing is lost by doing so and you don't lose the thread of the case.

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I suspect it could be boiled down to a couple paragraphs of exposition, and we'd never need to leave London.

 

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  • 1 month later...

We were watching The Hounds of Bakserville together today, and I brought up a scene from the novel "The Hound of the Baskervilles", which I promised to copy somewhere into the forum, for those who have not read the book and don't intend to labor through the whole thing, so I'll do it here, duly spoiler boxed for those who have not read the book but do intend to labor through it in the future. For those who have read it, the content of this post is perfectly useless.

 

 

 

 

In the original story, Holmes did in fact not travel to Dartmoor with Watson, but put him on the case by himself. Unbeknownst, however, Holmes went down by himself shortly after and camped out on the moor. Watson sees his silhouette out there one night, but doesn't recognize him, of course. So amongst all the other spooky things going on, there's for the first two thirds of the novel this mysterious "man on the moor", who turns out to be none other than our hero. The scene in question is where Watson finds out how he's been duped (something I bet John could sympathize entirely) and, according to my Complete Sherlock Holmes, it goes like this:

 

"And then at last I heard him. Far away came the sharp clink of a boot striking upon a stone. Then another and yet another, coming nearer and nearer. I shrank back into the darkest corner, and cocked the pistol in my pocket, determined not to discover myself until I had an opportunity of seeing something of the stranger. There was a long pause which showed that he had stopped. Then once more the footsteps approached and a shadow fell across the opening of the hut.
“It is a lovely evening, my dear Watson,” said a well-known voice. “I really think that you will be more comfortable outside than in.”

 

For a moment or two I sat breathless, hardly able to believe my ears. Then my senses and my voice came back to me, while a crushing weight of responsibility seemed in an instant to be lifted from my soul. That cold, incisive, ironical voice could belong to but one man in all the world.
“Holmes!” I cried—“Holmes!”
“Come out,” said he, “and please be careful with the revolver.”
I stooped under the rude lintel, and there he sat upon a stone outside, his gray eyes dancing with amusement as they fell upon my astonished features. He was thin and worn, but clear and alert, his keen face bronzed by the sun and roughened by the wind. In his tweed suit and cloth cap he looked like any other tourist upon the moor, and he had contrived, with that cat-like love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics, that his chin should be as smooth and his linen as perfect as if he were in Baker Street. “I never was more glad to see anyone in my life,” said I, as I wrung him by the hand.
“Or more astonished, eh?”
“Well, I must confess to it.”
“The surprise was not all on one side, I assure you. I had no idea that you had found my occasional retreat, still less that you were inside it, until I was within twenty paces of the door.”
“My footprint, I presume?”
“No, Watson; I fear that I could not undertake to recognize your footprint amid all the footprints of the world. If you seriously desire to deceive me you must change your tobacconist; for when I see the stub of a cigarette marked Bradley, Oxford Street, I know that my friend Watson is in the neighbourhood. You will see it there beside the path. You threw it down, no doubt, at that supreme moment when you charged into the empty hut.”
“Exactly.”
“I thought as much—and knowing your admirable tenacity I was convinced that you were sitting in ambush, a weapon within reach, waiting for the tenant to return. So you actually thought that I was the criminal?”
“I did not know who you were, but I was determined to find out.”
“Excellent, Watson! And how did you localize me? You saw me, perhaps, on the night of the convict hunt, when I was so imprudent as to allow the moon to rise behind me?”
“Yes, I saw you then.”
“And have no doubt searched all the huts until you came to this one?”
“No, your boy had been observed, and that gave me a guide where to look.”
“The old gentleman with the telescope, no doubt. I could not make it out when first I saw the light flashing upon the lens.” He rose and peeped into the hut. “Ha, I see that Cartwright has brought up some supplies. What’s this paper? So you have been to Coombe Tracey, have you?”
“Yes.”
“To see Mrs. Laura Lyons?”
“Exactly.”
“Well done! Our researches have evidently been running on parallel lines, and when we unite our results I expect we shall have a fairly full knowledge of the case.”
“Well, I am glad from my heart that you are here, for indeed the responsibility and the mystery were both becoming too much for my nerves. But how in the name of wonder did you come here, and what have you been doing? I thought that you were in Baker Street working out that case of blackmailing.”
“That was what I wished you to think.”
“Then you use me, and yet do not trust me!” I cried with some bitterness. “I think that I have deserved better at your hands, Holmes.”
“My dear fellow, you have been invaluable to me in this as in many other cases, and I beg that you will forgive me if I have seemed to play a trick upon you. In truth, it was partly for your own sake that I did it, and it was my appreciation of the danger which you ran which led me to come down and examine the matter for myself. Had I been with Sir Henry and you it is confident that my point of view would have been the same as yours, and my presence would have warned our very formidable opponents to be on their guard. As it is, I have been able to get about as I could not possibly have done had I been living in the Hall, and I remain an unknown factor in the business, ready to throw in all my weight at a critical moment.”
“But why keep me in the dark?”
“For you to know could not have helped us, and might possibly have led to my discovery. You would have wished to tell me something, or in your kindness you would have brought me out some comfort or other, and so an unnecessary risk would be run. I brought Cartwright down with me—you remember the little chap at the express office—and he has seen after my simple wants: a loaf of bread and a clean collar. What does man want more? He has given me an extra pair of eyes upon a very active pair of feet, and both have been invaluable.”
“Then my reports have all been wasted!”—My voice trembled as I recalled the pains and the pride with which I had composed them.
Holmes took a bundle of papers from his pocket.
“Here are your reports, my dear fellow, and very well thumbed, I assure you. I made excellent arrangements, and they are only delayed one day upon their way. I must compliment you exceedingly upon the zeal and the intelligence which you have shown over an extraordinarily difficult case.”
I was still rather raw over the deception which had been practised upon me, but the warmth of Holmes’s praise drove my anger from my mind. I felt also in my heart that he was right in what he said and that it was really best for our purpose that I should not have known that he was upon the moor.
“That’s better,” said he, seeing the shadow rise from my face."

 

 

 

There, that's what finally sealed my love for this crazy man at the tender age of 13. This scene. Of course it's a lot better with all the scary build up that the book provides, but if you want the full experience, well, I guess you'll have to pick up the novel, after all...

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I've read A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of Four so far. They both have good parts & I agree that the part in Utah for Scarlet does carry on for way too long.  At first I thought we had gone on to another story until I realized otherwise.  That puts The Sign of Four up on top between the two.  One I get through the other 2 novels, we'll see how it pans out.  But I put our BBC cast in the stories where they fit on and off as I read.

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From the passage quoted by T.o.b.y above (and presumably not much of a spoiler):

 

 

... [Holmes] had contrived, with that cat-like love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics, that his chin should be as smooth and his linen as perfect as if he were in Baker Street.

 

 

Can't help contrasting that with Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock!

 

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  • 3 months later...

I cannot honestly vote yet, having read only one and two-halves of the four, but so far, The Sign of the Four (one of the halves) is well ahead of The Hound of the Baskervilles (in which I bogged down halfway) and A Study in Scarlet (which had a good beginning and ending -- and an interminably tedious middle!).

Like Donovan says, I'm so in there with you! The other three don't have a proper London setting, which is a major disadvantage, they are written in such a way that Sherlock either appears at the beginning or end, like Hound, or the story crosses the great pond to cover Mormons and Pinkerton agents, but half of the novel is NOT about his deductions, his work, his contribution to fighting crime! Truth to tell, I read them through only once, every subsequent re-read (we are fans, after all) I skipped those bits and cut right down to the chase (meaning the conclusion, where he has to explain his thinking process for us lesser mortals
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As you may have seen later in this thread, I did finally finish Hound of the Baskervilles, this time bound in its own manageable book (rather than the huge compendium that I first tried reading it in), and enjoyed it.  In contrast to the other three novels, at least we don't venture out of England, and Watson and/or Holmes are present for nearly the entire story.  So Hound is now my official favorite of the novels.

 

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More than likely -- though it'd be hard to tell, because some of them may have a totally different title, plus a movie was mentioned on another thread recently that has "Baskerville" in the title, but is actually based on another Holmes story, "Silver Blaze."

 

IMDb lists 90 titles that supposedly contain the word Baskerville(s) -- though it looks like maybe only half are actually adaptations of The Hound.

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  • 1 year later...

In my case, I voted The Sign of the Four, since it sets the scene for a number of things taken up in later ACD stories and in the modern series. I only read the Sherlock Holmes bits in The Study and Valley stories nowadays, the whole American secret society thing, like The Five Orange Pips and The Yellow Face seems not to have been written with much thought, research beforehand or plot development, and it's pretty hoary by now.

As for Hound, the least said the better! Sir Arthur probably visited the place, liked its possibilities for a thriller and went for it, in the Great Hiatus, since he had killed his hero in 1893 and resurrected him in 1903. Par for the course then, for this fandom to wait patiently for almost three years between series!

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Voted for The Hound of the Baskervilles. Love Watson investigating, the setting, the satisfactory ending - every little mystery is so neatly resolved by the end. The Hound terrifies me (even on rereads- I'm a sissy).

I'm surprised to see Valley at the bottom. The solution was neat and clever. The flashback was interesting and a MUCH better read than Scarlet's middle segment. I've even read it as a graphic novel (Text adapted by I. Edgington and Illustrated by I.J.N. Culbard) which was pretty amazing too.

Very surprised to see it at the bottom.

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