This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring MINIMALIST covers. I’ve selected The Hound of the Baskervilles – Book 5 of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle.
So who knew that such a classic would be a source of such minimalist covers? But this edition, released in September 2014 by Enhanced Classics is one of a number of pared back designs that trades on our abiding affection and knowledge of this quirky detective. I really like it – though I do wonder if the dog ought to feature on the cover, given the way the fear of the beast looms throughout this tense murder mystery.
Published in September 2008 by Vintage Classics, this is another simple design. Despite the apparent simplicity, there’s quite a lot going on here. I like the graduated colour fading to black at the outer edges, which essentially puts that magnifying glass and the title in the spotlight. It’s a clever move having the snarling muzzle of the dog within the magnifying glass. The cover projects tension and menace without a splash of blood, or any garish visual tricks regarding the title. My one grumble is that I think the title could do with being less Victorian and self-effacing.
This Portuguese edition, published in 2013 by Zahar, is a real gem. Again, it has used the ubiquitous silhouette of Holmes to produce the heart of the design, before adding another layer that absolutely nails this one for me. Within the shadowed outline of Holmes is the ruined house where a certain character hid, thus thoroughly throwing dear old Watson right off the scent of the real villain. And then we have the cemetery and the dog, himself… I also absolutely love the way the smoke curls up from the pipe to give us the name of the author. This is my favourite.
And this Marathi edition is another example of a simple outline featuring on the cover. Published in January 2012 by Diamond Publications, the almost cartoonish creature on the trail of his prey immediately draws the eye. Again, the background is effectively shaded, pulling our attention onto the snarling beast in the centre of the cover – while that hill than provides the text box for the title and author fonts. This one was so nearly my favourite – it was the wisping smoke turning into Conan Doyle’s name on the other other contender that edged for me.
This Lithuanian edition, published in May 2013 by Baltos Iankos, is another effective and simple cover. The shaded background allows the black outline of the dog to stand out, so although he is running more or less towards us – a difficult angle when most of the details aren’t apparent – we can make him out with no difficulty. I like the fact the designer has taken the trouble to give him a shadow, thus anchoring him to the background, instead of just plonking him onto the top of it. I do think the title font could be a bit larger and punchier, but that is a personal preference. Which is your favourite?
I love the second cover: the coloring is perfect and that snarling hound so real that I can almost hear it… 😉
Yes – it’s the one Himself really admired:)).
I love the Lithuanian and the Marathi covers. So simple and yet very attention grabbing.
It was Himself who discovered the Hound of the Baskerville covers – and when he suggested it, I thought at first he was joking! Until I had look, too.
The Vintage Classics edition would have been my favorite if the title had been more interesting, so that means I’ll choose the Portuguese edition too! I just love the pipe smoke title😁
It is lovely, the way it curls up onto the cover, isn’t it?
What an awesome choice Sarah! And those covers are gorgeous. Yes, your favorite is beautiful and you immediately know it’s Sherlock Holmes. I do like the Luthanian one as well. But maybe it gives the plot away a bit too much. It wasn’t a scary dog after all…
Happy weekend and here’s my Weekend Book Friends
Thank you, Mareli:)). Yes – Himself roared with laughter when he saw the Lithuanian cover and asked it was about to lick its victims to death:)). I hope that you, too, have a lovely weekend:))
Great choices make it difficult to choose! I’ll go with the second one, the Vintage Classic edition. I like the color/shading, we’ve got the dog and sign of a sleuth, and it has great old-fashioned appeal, overall.
Yes – it’s very effective and you’re right – it also successfully evokes the period.
I love a good minimalist cover on a classic mystery! Any cover that has that Holmes profile with a pipe is going to be a winner for me but I think the 2nd cover is my favorite.
Thank you, Katherine:)). It is a classy effort, isn’t it?
Although the copy I read was the fourth, I LOVE the first and the third. The third is my favorite!
Thank you, Rae:)). They are fun, aren’t they?
Great choice! I knew my favorite would be the 2013 by Zahar as soon as I saw it, great to see it was yours as well!
It was a really unexpected book pick – I hadn’t thought of The Hound of the Baskervilles when considering minimalist covers, but there were a bunch of them…
It’s not minimalist, but I’m really feeling the 2013 Portuguese edition. I love the house steps inside the silhouette of the dude.
I know – it’s brilliantly thought through, isn’t it?
My vote is the Portuguese edition!
Thank you, Jennie:). It is a really lovely cover, isn’t it?
Yes, it is! Best to you, Sarah.
You and I have the same favorite in this batch, Sarah! I decided to peruse some other covers, and you know, there does seem to be this minimalist approach much of the time. This one takes minimalist up a notch, though, methinks…
Ooo… how come I missed THIS one??? You star – I really love it. My one grumble is that it doesn’t have that period feel…
Very true! There are oodles of unique “pulp” style covers, but some of these minimal ones do miss that time period mark…
Oh yes… you’re so right about the oodles and oodles of covers… I wonder what Conan Doyle would make of Sherlock’s crazy popularity?
I think he’d regret not sending Sherlock to visit his dinosaurs at the center of the earth! 😉 xxxxxx