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The Hound of the Baskervilles Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Posted by j128 in Mystery.
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"The Hound of the Baskervilles"

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Oxford World's Classics edition)

The Hound of the Baskervilles by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a Sherlock Holmes novel, and was originally serialized in the Strand Magazine in 1901 and 1902. It is considered Sir Conan Doyle’s best work for its fantastic descriptive writing. This is the first Sherlock Holmes book I have actually read from front to back and I enjoyed it immensely!

Summary

The story is told in the first-person by Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s assistant and friend. They are visited by Dr. James Mortimer, a friend of the late Sir Charles Baskerville. He comes with a disturbing tale of an old family curse and the shocking news of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, which came in the form of the family curse: a supposed hell-hound known as the Hound of the Baskervilles. Dr. Mortimer is uneasy as he is to meet the last of the Baskervilles: Sir Henry Baskerville and he fears for the young Baskerville as all Baskervilles have been killed on sight at the Baskerville estate in Dartmoore.

It all began with the first Baskerville, Sir Hugo Baskerville; an evil, drunken man with a lot of men almost as equal as him. After he captured a helpless young woman forcefully for his own merriment, he and his friends partied and intoxicated themselves. Realizing quite suddenly the young maiden had escaped they took chase. The young maiden, frightened and weary, sooner or later stumbled, perhaps on an upturned root, and broke her neck. At the same time Sir Hugo Baskerville’s friends caught sight of a gigantic hound following them. Fearful, they ran away for their lives. When they came upon Sir Hugo, he had fallen into a pit alongside the young maiden he had stolen, and the devilish hound ate his throat.

Mr. Holmes dismisses it as a fairy-tale, but is caught in curiosity when Dr. Mortimer mentions something he had not said earlier that when inspecting the late Sir Charles Baskerville, his face was distorted in terror, and there were large footprints of a hound, though no marks were found on Sir Baskerville’s body.

After a time Sherlock Holmes instructs Dr. Watson to accompany Sir Henry Baskerville and to take the young Baskerville into Dr. Waston’s charge and never to let him out of his sight or leave him alone. Dr. Watson is to also make any observations and reports to Mr. Holmes if it might be helpful to uncover this strange and dark mystery.

There are a series of characters, most notable the Hound, Mr. Stapleton and his wife framed as his sister, Mrs. Stapleton, Mrs. Laura Lyton, Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, the baronet of Baskerville Hall, and of course: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

The Hound of the Baskervilles has been made into many film adaptations and TV shows; maybe the most popular being the 1939 film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The latest film version of the Sherlock Holmes novel as discussed was in 2002.

Links

The Hound of the Baskervilles – An article on Answers.com with details of The Hound of the Baskervilles including the story’s inspirations, the movies, the plot of the book (minor), and other external links. Also includes an image of a copy of the first edition (published in 1902) of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The Hound of the Baskervilles on Project Gutenberg

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