Hey readers! Welcome to the page. Today we’re all set to give you full detailed information about the ‘fantastic thriller and probably the best Sherlock Holmes novel’, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. The novel is written by the British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The novel is the third novel consisting of the stunning detective, Sherlock Holmes as the protagonist. However, The Hound of the Baskervilles was initially published in a serialized manner in The Strand Magazine between 1901 to 1902 rather than being published as a novel. But, it proved to be as famous as the novel.
The novel got the top spot in Sherlock Holmes novels in 1999. It was also listed in BBC’s poll of UK’s best loved novel. It is acclaimed widely and got a very positive review from the critics and is still among the best selling and most loved thriller even after 119 years of its initial publication!
Let’s get straight to the summary of this ‘unforgettable thriller’.
PS: You’re in for a whole lot of thrill!
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The Hound of the Baskervilles: Summary
“The devil’s agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?”
Sherlock Holmes, the detective and the protagonist, and Dr. Watson try to find the owner of a peculiar cane that an unknown person has left in their office. Holmes, with his amazing observation skills, identifies the appearance of the owner.
The owner turns out to be Dr. James Mortimer. Dr. Mortimer finally visits Holmes and Watson. Upon his visit, Mortimer tells them the legend of the late Hugo Baskervilles. Hugo was a ruthless member of the great Baskerville family. Hugo kidnaps a poor country girl in his castle at Devonshire. But the girl manages to escape somehow. In the quest to find her, Hugo and some of his men go through the dark and deserted moor at night. In the deserted moor, they encounter a gigantic and deadly hound. All of Hugo’s men run away but Hugo fell prey to the hound.
Since then, the hound is believed to be hunting the moors and the Baskerville family too. And the recent death of Charles Baskerville is believed to be linked with the legend of the lethal hound. And Dr. Mortimer asserts that the next heir of Baskerville Hall, Sir Henry Baskerville, is in grave danger due to his arrival in London and his decision to move to Baskerville hall. And Sir Charles has already been threatened by a note and, quite suspiciously, one of his shoe is stolen from the hotel.
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”
Even after being threatened by the note, Sir Henry shows no fear and decides to move to Baskerville hall and take over it. Holmes observes a strange bearded man following Sir Henry. So, Holmes sends Dr. Watson with Sir Henry and Mortimer to Devonshire in order to protect Henry and initiate the investigation. Holmes orders Watson to update him regularly about the investigation.
They finally arrive at the Baskerville Hall. Watson is quite fascinated by seeing the location of the great Baskerville Hall, which is surrounded by the deserted moor, which is believed to be filled up with animals including the deadly hound. Upon their arrival, they’re welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, the housekeepers who manage the hall. But there’s something strange about them, Mr. Barrymore wanders around the estate during the night and Mrs. Barrymore doesn’t seem in good mental health as she’s mostly sobbing.
Watson is also alerted by the news that a man charged of murder, named Selden, has escaped and found wandering around the moor. Watson meets the neighbors of the Baskerville Hall, the Stapeltons. The Stapeltons, who are quite peculiar in nature, especially Miss Stapelton. Miss Stapelton acts strangely and seems very anxious. She mistakes Dr. Watson with Sir Henry Baskerville and warns him to leave the Baskerville Hall right away. He also discovers that there was an encounter between Lara Lyons, a native of Devonshire and Sir Charles, on the same night he was found dead.
“There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you.”
One night, Sir Henry discovers that Selden is no other than Mrs. Barrymore’s brother. And they secretly provide food to Selden at night. Watson and Sir Henry tries to catch Selden, but he manages to run away. Watson regularly sends the reports of the investigation to Holmes. He also sees a suspicious figure moving around and observing the moor at night.
To Watson’s surprise, the suspicious figure turns out to be Sherlock Holmes. Barrymore tells Watson that his wife has received a letter which originally belonged to Sir Charles, on the day of his death. He investigates further and finds out that Sir Charles had an appointment with Laura Lyons on the day of his death, but Laura canceled the meeting.
Holmes tells Watson that he had been residing in the moor secretly and has discovered that Miss and Mr. Stapelton aren’t brother and sister, but rather a married couple. He states that his primary suspects are Mr. and Mrs. Stapelton and they’ll have to gather enough proof against them. Holmes and Watson soon find a dead body on the moor, and the body turns out to be of Selden, the escaped convict. Holmes predict that the cause of his death was falling from the cliff, probably as he was trying to escape the place and find a new hiding place.
Watson and Holmes spend few days in Baskerville Hall. While observing the hall, Holmes finds a portrait of Hugo Baskerville. Holmes finds something peculiar in the portrait, he observes that Stapelton’s face resembles Hugo Baskervilles’s face. And he concludes that Stapelton is himself a member of the Baskerville family.
“A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen.”
Holmes formulates a plan to catch Stapelton red-handed. However, Holmes doesn’t tell to Sir Henry. Instead, he asks Henry to have dinner at the Stapelton’s and walk back home alone in the moor. Holmes and Watson pretend to leave Devonshire but stays in Devonshire. They also contact Mr. Lestrade, the policeman from London. Lestrade agrees to accompany Watson and Holmes in Devonshire.
As advised by Holmes, Sir Henry comes back from dinner by walking alone in the moor. Sir Henry suddenly sees a horrible and gigantic hound, devastated by the experience, Sir Henry starts running and the hound follows him. Just when the hound gets ready to attack Sir Henry, Holmes and Watson comes to his rescue and manages to kill the hound and save Sir Henry.
Holmes concludes that the hound is been kept by Stapelton as a pet. He also observes the body of the hound and finds out that the hound has been decorated by Stapelton to make it look more deadly. When they reach Mr. Stapelton’s house, they find Mrs. Stapelton tied up in the house. The next morning, they find Mr. Stapelton’s boot and predict that he’s dead.
Holmes finally concludes that Stapelton himself was an heir of the Baskerville family. And his actual name was Sir Rodger Baskerville. He was the son of Sir Charles’s younger brother who moved away from Devonshire long ago. As his father died, Rodger decided to move back to Devonshire and take possession of the Baskerville hall. Holmes states that Sir Henry’s shoe was stolen by Rodger to give it to the hound so that it can identify Sir Henry’s smell. On the night of the encounter, Rodger used Laura Lyons and seduced her to fix a night appointment with Sir Charles and not show up, in order to provoke him to move out of the house at night, and he eventually managed to kill Sir Charles.
The Hound of the Baskervilles: Review
Well well well……. What to say about this novel. It would not be wrong to conclude that The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the best ‘mystery thriller’ ever written and the best Sherlock Holmes novel ever. I mean there’s something that would give you goosebumps in each and every chapter, may that be the twists and turns or the expertise of the great Sherlock Holmes, it would surely give you goosebumps!
The twist at the end would leave you shocked. And to be honest, after completing the novel, I just admired the fictional character of Holmes so much that I decided to become a detective! But, unfortunately, there isn’t a very good scope for being a detective in India.
The novel is written greatly and as always, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fantastically portrays each and every character, especially Holmes’s and Watson’s. But however, some readers might find the novel quite difficult to read due to its complex English as it was initially written in the late 1890s. You might have to put a little bit of effort to completely understand it, but believe me, it’s surely worth the effort!
The novel would keep you engaged from beginning to the end and unlike some other mystery thrillers, it’s totally unpredictable, which is indeed the brilliance of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If somehow, you manage to predict the culprit before reading the conclusion, then congratulations, you’re the next Sherlock Holmes!
The Hound of the Baskervilles: Movie
There are various adaptations of the novel into movie, but The Hound of the Baskervilles, released in 1959 in the United Kingdom was the first adaptation that was filmed in color. The movie was directed by Terence Fisher. The movie starred Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville, and Andre Morell as Dr. Watson. The film was produced by Hammer Film Productions.
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