Rereading: THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by A. Conan Doyle

HoundBaskervilles

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.

Highly recommended.

5 thoughts on “Rereading: THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES by A. Conan Doyle

  1. clem robins

    why am i the only one who never really was thrilled with Baskervilles? i love most of the short stories, and The Valley of Fear. but, despite its reputation as the greatest detective story ever written, this one never really got to me. i must be wired wrong or something.

  2. Rip Jagger

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favorite novel, sharing that spot with The Return of Tarzan. I read it a tyke and get around to it again every few years. It’s a smashing story which has been adapted over and over again, often to miserable effect. It’s an absolute humdinger. Keeping Holmes out of it for so long was a brilliant stroke for the plot and keeps the reader riding shotgun with a Watson who isn’t as keen and resourceful as Holmes, though plenty brave. Love it! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Dean

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