Books

by Pierre Bayard
Bloomsbury, October 2008, $

Fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories seem to be insatiable, devouring pastiches, parodies, and spin-offs of the Holmes canon by the score. However, there is a secondary Holmes enterprise and that is in scholarly (and pseudo-scholarly) works on the master. Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, a mix of crime novel and intellectual exercise, falls into this second category.
In his re-reading of the Hound of the Baskervilles Pierre Bayard attempts to prove Holmes' solution of the case incorrect by challenging no less than Holmes' vaunted deductive method itself. In this counter-investigation of Doyle's most famous Holmes case, Bayard challenges the reader to suspend belief in the detective's conclusions about not only the perpetrator of the crimes, but even the famous sleuth's reading of the clues. Bayard expands the claims of his method by also calling into question mystery authors' conclusions in crime stories in general thereby empowering the reader in his/her ability to deconstruct fictional texts of all sorts. How Bayard works this all out the reader will have to experience, but he does provide a fascinating and rewarding examination of Holmes' method of operations, i.e. observation, comparison, and reasoning backward.
The French have long been fascinated by crime fiction. In Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, Pierre Bayard combines this with a second fascination of French intellectualism, that is, various theoretical approaches to texts. In the process Bayard's little book opens an engaging and enlightening discussion of one of the central works of classic detective fiction.

Charles L.P. Silet

Fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories seem to be insatiable, devouring pastiches, parodies, and spin-offs of the Holmes canon by the score. However, there is a secondary Holmes enterprise and that is in scholarly (and pseudo-scholarly) works on the master. Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, a mix of crime novel and intellectual exercise, falls into this second category.
In his re-reading of the Hound of the Baskervilles Pierre Bayard attempts to prove Holmes' solution of the case incorrect by challenging no less than Holmes' vaunted deductive method itself. In this counter-investigation of Doyle's most famous Holmes case, Bayard challenges the reader to suspend belief in the detective's conclusions about not only the perpetrator of the crimes, but even the famous sleuth's reading of the clues. Bayard expands the claims of his method by also calling into question mystery authors' conclusions in crime stories in general thereby empowering the reader in his/her ability to deconstruct fictional texts of all sorts. How Bayard works this all out the reader will have to experience, but he does provide a fascinating and rewarding examination of Holmes' method of operations, i.e. observation, comparison, and reasoning backward.
The French have long been fascinated by crime fiction. In Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong, Pierre Bayard combines this with a second fascination of French intellectualism, that is, various theoretical approaches to texts. In the process Bayard's little book opens an engaging and enlightening discussion of one of the central works of classic detective fiction.

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1301

by Pierre Bayard
Bloomsbury, October 2008, $

Bayard
October 2008
sherlock-holmes-was-wrong-reopening-the-case-of-the-hound-of-the-baskerville
Bloomsbury