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.
©2008 Pierre Beyard; (P)2008 Tantor
"With wit and careful analysis, Bayard makes a convincing case." (Los Angeles Times)
I hate writing a bad review on a persons work, but I also hate spending money on something I don't like. So here it is, my wife got this book for an early morning driving trip. After 15 minutes my wife was asleep, and that is okay because she wasn't driving. I on the other hand was driving and suffered through 2 hours before turning it off because I was falling asleep. It just doesn't grab you...
First, the good: the narration is excellent and the book is relatively short. Now that that part is done, let's get to the bad stuff.
The author starts well, but then spends the middle of the book discussing a strange metaphysical theory where characters from fiction can enter our world and we can enter theirs. It is heavily distracting, and it doesn't help relate his theory that Beryl Stapleton is behind the murders in the book and is perhaps channeling the spirit of the murdered barmaid who was imprisoned by Hugo Baskerville at the beginning of the story.
It's an interesting story, raising good questions about the case as related by Doyle's pen. It is well written so as to keep you guessing as to who Bayard will eventually accuse once he gets done with his odd inability to distinguish between reality and fiction. All told, I probably wouldn't pick up anything else by this author but definitely would look for stuff from this narrator.
Complete garbage and self promotion. Specious. Mumbo-jumbo of the most mediocre kind. Unsubstantiated, insubstantial, and intellectually incomprehensible. Oh, and did I say not good at all? Don't waste a credit like I did.
With a title, 'Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong', one must take a pause to let the concept sink in.
How can the Great Detective be wrong? But in many of the stories penned by AC Doyle, Sherlock was often wrong, both in side stories mentioned and actual titled stories.
Bayard breaks this book up into three parts.
Part one is a synopsis of the story in question.
Part two is the oft maligned but remarkable study of how fictional characters can become 'real'. Perhaps, in some cases, such as in Holmes, more real than living persons. It's truly brilliant and will leave you thinking and pondering the conclusions he makes. I, for one, agree with his conclusions and find his insight refreshing. For Example, when 'fictitious' characters are presented, warts and all, in a well written, well crafted story, they DO take on a life of their own. Bond, Poirot, Marple, Pyne, Bosch, Brown, Langdon, Ryan, Marlowe, Spade, etc., are all living entities to millions of people throughout the world. Bayard cleverly explains and illustrates this phenomenon.
Part three is the reason you were interested in this title to begin with. Bayard goes piece by piece through the evidence strictly adhering to the story. The conclusion is masterful and even validated by Holmes own expression of doubt at the conclusion of the story.
This book does crossover from narrative, non-fiction, to fiction. It's well segued and isn't a distraction.
I believe, sincerely, that Holmes fans and appreciators of fiction will enjoy, ponder, and perhaps agree with the conclusions made by Bayard long after the story is concluded.
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