The world’s greatest detective was wrong

Cultural gadfly Pierre Bayard returns to the genre of “detective criticism,” which he invented fifteen years ago (in his rereading of Agatha Christie’s Who Killed Roger Ackroyd), and immerses himself in Arthur Conan Doyle’s imaginary universe. The result is
a new, startling way to think about one of Sherlock Holmes’s most famous cases.

Was Conan Doyle tortured by Holmes? Was he attempting to undermine his iconic creation even as he wrote him into being? Bayard’s argument ultimately rests on his theory that Holmes botched the solution of The Hound of the Baskervilles — that the purported murderer was actually a patsy for a murderous wife. In this surprise ending, as in the rest of the book, Bayard acquits himself nicely.

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