Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Overview

A playfully brilliant re-creation of one of the most-loved detective stories of all time; the companion book no Holmes fan should be without.

Eliminate the impossible, Holmes said, and whatever is left must be the solution. But as Pierre Bayard finds in this dazzling reinvestigation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, sometimes the master missed his mark. Using the last thoughts of the murder victim as his key, Bayard unravels the case, leading the reader to the astonishing ...

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Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Overview

A playfully brilliant re-creation of one of the most-loved detective stories of all time; the companion book no Holmes fan should be without.

Eliminate the impossible, Holmes said, and whatever is left must be the solution. But as Pierre Bayard finds in this dazzling reinvestigation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, sometimes the master missed his mark. Using the last thoughts of the murder victim as his key, Bayard unravels the case, leading the reader to the astonishing conclusion that Holmes – and, in fact, Arthur Conan Doyle – got things all wrong: The killer is not at all who they said it was.

Part intellectual entertainment, part love letter to crime novels, and part crime novel in itself, Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong turns one of our most beloved stories delightfully on its head. Examining the many facets of the case and illuminating the bizarre interstices between Doyle’s fiction and the real world, Bayard demonstrates a whole new way of reading mysteries: a kind of “detective criticism” that allows readers to outsmart not only the criminals in the stories we love, but also the heroes — and sometimes even the writers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Bayard bases his conclusion that Holmes got it wrong on a close reading of the novel and a sharply reasoned appraisal of the characters’ actions and Holmes’s own interpretations of them. This is a fascinating approach to literature…Bayard rewards [readers] with a new appreciation of the story, its hero, and its creator.”—Booklist

“Close reading and iconoclastic analysis of classic detective fiction…[An] audacious revisionist view of one of the best-known mysteries of all time…Bayard picks apart the apparently airtight case Holmes assembled in The Hound of the Baskervilles and offers an alternative solution.”—Publishers Weekly

“Cultural gadfly Pierre Bayard returns to the genre of ‘detective criticism,’ which he invented fifteen years ago… The result is a new, startling way to think about one of Sherlock Holmes’s most famous cases.”—Very Short List

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596916050
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Bayard is a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII and a psychoanalyst. He is the author of How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?, and many other books.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    so what

    The problem with a book of this type is simple. It's easy to come up with an "alternative answer" to a fictional mystery. It doesn't mean a thing and gives no real insight into the original- whether as a work of detection or as a thriller. I can take darn near any Agatha Christie and do the same thing. By definition- in a work of fiction, it is impossible for the detective to "get it wrong" unless the author deliberately chooses to do so. The idea of a fictional mystery is to actually make it possible that everyone is guilty and could have done it. So you made up a different ending to a story. So what? Want to impress me? Do the same thing with a true crime mystery- William Desmond Taylor, Sir Edmond Godfrey, Lord Darnley to name a few historical crimes. Show me how people have had those (unsolved) answers wrong for years. Then you have something.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    I'm not so sure about that....

    While this book is entertaining enough and not completely implausible, I didn't feel that Mr. Bayard succeeded in making his case. The entire business of fictional characters intruding into the real world (and vice versa--you kind of had to be there to know what I'm saying) got pretty well out of control after a while. In addition, the by now familiar refrain about how Conan Doyle had gotten tired of Holmes by the time The Hound of the Baskervilles came out is no convincing explanation for the supposed "mistakes" made by Holmes and Watson. The "real" murder plot that Mr. Bayard thinks he's uncovered depended so much on blind luck to pull off that it boggles the mind that it ever got off the ground. And finally, at the risk of giving away a key point of the argument, I always have trouble with a plot whose resolution involves someone tying himself or herself up. This is something I'd like to see demonstrated sometime--I don't doubt that Houdini could have pulled it off but the average person would have a rough time of it. I may be somewhat prejudiced because I'm a lifelong Holmes fan and tend to figure that the Great Detective was usually right, but I'm willing to "follow docilely wherever the facts may lead me" as he was. As it happens, they led me to conclude that Sherlock Holmes was right and Pierre Bayard was wrong.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    No.

    No.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    No.

    No.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Sherlock Holmes is never wrong!

    Pfft.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 14, 2014

    how can the author of a fictitious get the ending of his own fic

    how can the author of a fictitious get the ending of his own fictitious novel wrong?? 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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