Winner: October 2007 Moonbeam Silver Medal Award: Audiobook Category - Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle; read by David Ian Davies (One Voice Recordings)
We owe 1902's The Hound of the Baskervilles to Arthur Conan Doyle's good friend Fletcher "Bobbles" Robinson, who took him to visit some scary English moors and prehistoric ruins, and told him marvelous local legends about escaped prisoners and a 17th-century aristocrat who fell afoul of the family dog. Doyle transmogrified the legend: generations ago, a hound of hell tore out the throat of devilish Hugo Baskerville on the moonlit moor. Poor, accursed Baskerville Hall now has another mysterious death: that of Sir Charles Baskerville. Could the culprit somehow be mixed up with secretive servant Barrymore, history-obsessed Dr. Frankland, butterfly-chasing Stapleton, or Selden, the Notting Hill murderer at large? Someone's been signaling with candles from the mansion's windows. Nor can supernatural forces be ruled out. Can Dr. Watson--left alone by Sherlock Holmes to sleuth in fear for much of the novel--save the next Baskerville, Sir Henry, from the hound's fangs?
Written based upon longstanding rural British folktales of demonic beasts unleashed from the pits of Hell upon the unjust, Conan Doyle places his sleuth upon the trail of a particular legendary hound literally 'dogging' the House of Baskerville since the wicked dominion of Hugo Baskerville. Drawn to Baskerville Hall by a plea to protect the newly-arrived heir Sir Henry, after the death of his Uncle, Sir Charles, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson arrive to separate myth from fact.
What they find confirms that Sir Charles was indeed frightened to death by the mere sight of something enormous and canine. Whatever the instrument of the victim's demise, Holmes strongly suspects a living human force and mind behind the threat to Sir Henry's life. His suspicions grow when the behavior of the estate's butler and housekeeper, the Barrymores, seem to ally them with an unknown figure skulking upon the moors. A parade of peculiar and bizarre characters soon appears to complicate Holmes' and Watson's investigation. The baying of the Hound can now be heard drifting across the treacherous moors, and the threat to the man Holmes has sworn to protect is suddenly made manifest. The Hound of The Baskervilles is truly an unforgettable Classic, once again granted immortality by David Ian Davies' stunning performances of every character appearing in this grand masterpiece of the Holmes Canon.
"...to refer to David's Sherlock Holmes productions as simply dramatic readings is a major understatement, as he brings a wonderful range of distinctly unique voices into play as he essays each of the characters, creating a marvelously layered and rich listening experience that showcases Arthur Conan Doyle's masterful use of language." - Charles Prepolec, bakerstreetdozen.com
"...To call this only a reading of the classic Sherlock Holmes story, would be to devalue the beauty of this performance. Although you may have heard recordings of the Sherlock Holmes work read before with distance and haughty affectation, none of that is present in Mr. Davies storytelling performance. This features one man, many voices and a hefty portion of talent. This performance is fresh, approachable and inviting. - Sam Buvala, Storyteller.net, Reviews
"Mr. Davies's reading of The Hound of the Baskervilles adds mastery to a masterpiece! Mr. Davies is an absolute virtuoso of voices and dialects. It is difficult to believe that this unabridged narration of Sir Arthur's most famous Holmes case is done only by one man and not being performed by a troupe of actors and actresses. Limited space doesn't allow us to do full justice to describe this recording, but suffice it to say that Mr. Davies's performance has received "raves" from independent reviewers. Even when you hear it, you won't believe it! - sherlock-holmes.com
Hound of the Baskervilles is probably Holmes most famous work by quite some way. Most people are familiar with the plot, but that doesn't detract from this excellent reading by David Davies. It is a story that is worth enjoying again and again and it was a pleasant surprise to hear it read so well, in so many different voices all from the same person. I was also pleased to discover that it was completely unabridged rather than being just the edited highlights.
David Ian Davies really brings Hound of the Baskervilles to life. He is always good, but he really is special on this Sherlock Holmes Audio Classic!