Month: May 2017

The Hound of the Baskervilles

“…He said there were no traces upon the ground round the body. He did not observe any. But I did- some little distance off, but fresh and clear.”

“Footprints?”

“Footprints.”

“A man’s or a woman’s?”

Dr. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant, and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered.

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!” *

Among all of the numerous fictional characters that have made their entrance into the world of stories, legends, and mysteries; few have been as popular or as well-remembered as Sherlock Holmes and his faithful counterpart Dr. John Watson. The eccentric, amateur detective and the loyal, retired army surgeon solve crimes of the most bizarre types in four novels and fifty-six short stories. The Hound of the Baskervilles-written by Arthur Conon Doyle- was first published in 1902 by George Newness, and it falls in the mystery\detective genre.

The story takes place in England in the late 19th century.  Holmes and Watson are enjoying a leisurely morning in Baker Street when a young doctor comes to ask their opinion on a death that had recently happened at Devonshire, in Baskerville Hall. While most are convinced that the victim-Sir Charles Baskerville-died as the result of a heart attack, his doctor, Dr. James Mortimer, thinks otherwise. He tells Holmes and Watson of a strange tale that was handed down from generation to generation of the Baskervilles, a tale of a huge man-eating hound that was said to wander the moor at night. In recent years, this story was dismissed by most, but Sir Charles took it very seriously and refused to walk on the moor after sundown. In fact, he was becoming so nervous about the whole affair that Dr. Mortimer became very worried and was going to suggest a short holiday in town. The next night, Sir Charles was found lying dead on the outskirts of his estate. When the scene was examined, Dr. Mortimer found a footmark that alarmed him; the mark of the foot of a giant hound.

 Holmes agrees to take up the case, sending Dr. Watson as his agent to Baskerville Hall with the young heir to the estate; Sir Henry Baskerville. While there, a series of events causes much unrest and anxiety to both Sir Henry and Dr. Watson. What do missing boots, strange messages, lights on the moor, secretive servants, and a long, haunting cry have to do with the mystery of the Hound of the Baskerville? Is it just a dirty trick, playing on superstition to scare the inhabitants of Baskerville, or is there some deeper, more sinister intent? Is there really a hound on the moor? And if there is; is it just an ordinary hound, or, as some suggest, is it some agent of the devil? What is the truth behind all of these seemingly unrelated incidents?

Arthur Conon Doyle uses excellent dialogue in his Sherlock Holmes novels. His use of detail is immense-as he wrote mysteries-but it never becomes dull or monotonous. His stories flow very well and there were no dull spots. This book was not a particularly easy read; I would say about medium-hard.

I would highly recommend this book for 12+. There are some mature themes and very mild language, and it can be quite chilling at times. It has excellent literature qualities, a thrilling story, and well-loved characters. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*Excerpt taken from The Hound of the Baskervilles, written by Arthur Conon Doyle, published in 1902 by George Newness.

 

P.S. I am a self-acclaimed fan of Sherlock Holmes. Just F.Y.I. 😉

               

Courageous Love

The camp had come alive. The fire burned brightly, casting an eerie red glow into the sky… Andi ducked back into the shadows. A heartbeat later, powerful arms encircled Andi from behind. “Chica, you will live to regret this.” *

 

Courageous Love is a heart-thumping tale of escapades and adventures in San Joaquin Valley, California, 1885. Written by Susan K. Marlow and published in 2017 by Kregel Publications, this historical fiction story-fourth in the Andrea Carter Milestones series- will not disappoint long-time fans, and is an excellent introduction to the adventures of the Circle C ranch and its high-spirited family.

Andrea Carter-know by most as “Andi”-is a lively, 16-year-old ranch girl. She helps her older brothers run the Circle C ranch, and when she isn’t roping cattle or training horses, she learns trick riding with the help of young horse wrangler Riley Prescott. One day, when coming back from a training session, Andi and Riley come across a cut in the wire fence surrounding heathy black Angus cattle. When nothing seems to be wrong with the cattle, Riley and Andi mend the fence and leave; not knowing that someone had poisoned the cattle’s drinking water. Later, when they find a note- that was wrapped around a brick responsible for breaking a window during a party-telling them about the poison, they realize that cattle may be the least of their problems. Someone is out for revenge against the Carter family; someone who will do anything to ensure pain and sorrow in their midst.

Added to all these larger problems is Andi’s own personal one; her feelings for Riley. He has grown from merely being her friend to something else-something she is not sure she wants him to be. When her world changes dramatically overnight, she must reconcile herself and trust that God has a plan for her-with or without Riley.

Susan K. Marlow is an excellent author; she uses a medium amount of details and description and her dialogue is very good. The story flowed fairly quickly; there was an occasional slow spot at the beginning, but it quickened near the middle and kept it up until its conclusion. Courageous Love is an easy to medium read.

I would definitely recommend this book for girls-and even boys- ages 13+. There is some romance, as well as a few mature themes, but it has Godly morals and is written very well. 4 out of 5 stars.

 

God forgive me. I did what I had to do, but I hope I never have to do it again. *

*Excerpt taken from Chapter 24 pg. 175 of Courageous Love, written by Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications, 2017

**Excerpt taken from Chapter 25 pg. 126 of Courageous Love, written by Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications, 2017