The handsome first edition, not mine. I read it on my iPhone.
This is the most familiar of the Sherlock Holmes novels, and I think of the Holmes stories in all. Doyle combined what he’d already created — a master detective and his assistant — with the elements of a gothic horror thriller: a lonely mansion in an ominous setting, a family legend of a huge, murderous, ghostly hound out to get the head of the house, and a cast of shady characters in the surrounding neighborhood. When the heir to the Baskerville estate comes to Holmes for help and advice, the detective uncharacteristically sends Watson home with him to try his hand at solving the case while protecting Henry Baskerville. It seems Holmes is too busy with other things. So, for a good half the book we follow Watson as he tries to emulate the Holmes method, having some success, but also some failures, as well as scary moments out in the gloomy marshes of Dartmoor. The hound itself does not appear before us for quite a long time, only his howl is heard, but that’s chilling enough! Even more chilling is the cruel plot working against the Baskervilles and the clever mind behind it. Really, this story was perfect for film and TV, and it was adapted many times. Hard to beat the Basil Rathbone version, I say. The book has plenty of thrills, intrigue, and fascinating detail that no film can include, and is great reading.