30 days hath September, 15 chapters has the Hound.
The Hound of the Baskervilles, that is. Probably the greatest of all Sherlock Holmes novels, re-created on film more than any other part of the Holmes Canon. A classic battle of the enlightened scientific mind versus the superstitions of old. And for me, it holds an even more special cachet.
Back in 1995, during a time when I was spending a lot of time with some very real friends in a very fictional pub called "The Dangling Prussian," the bartender of the place suggested I take a tour group through The Hound of the Baskervilles. Not a tour of modern Dartmoor. Not a book club sitting around reading the book. But a tour group of fictionalized tourists wandering around in the actual tale itself, trying not to bump Sherlock Holmes while he was doing anything important. (This was before the less careful Thursday Next started mucking about with all of fiction some years later.)
The transcripts of my tour guide narration from the trip was published under the title The Armchair Baskerville Tour, which hardly set the reading world on fire, but did make one more odd little collectable for the true fan of Hound to dig up. The purpose of such a trip? As I wrote then: "Even the most familiar book has things in it you never realized were there. Some of them will even come chasing after you, even after you've put the book down." The tour's intent was to poke around in that classic Sherlock Holmes novel and just see what was really in there . . . and, I must admit, things got a little weird that first time.
But a lot has changed since I went into The Hound of the Baskervilles with that tour thirteen years ago. Now that September is fast upon us, bringing with it the season of The Hound, I'm hearing a siren call beckoning me back. So I've decided to make September the month of a second expedition into the novel itself, with a goal of exploring a chapter every two days. Every two days, you can expect a blog report from me of what I find there.
You just follow my progress from the comfort of your favorite web-browsing chair, you can read along in The Hound of the Baskervilles, or you can even just come back in October to see if the Hound itself didn't finally drag me off into the Grimpen Mire of madness this time. In any case, it sure to be more interesting than one more discussion of Miley Cyrus's latest twerking debacle.
30 days hath September, 15 chapters has the Hound. Time to start packing.