"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles

cover selected from the internet
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Author:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
First Publication was a serial in The Strand August 1901 - April 1902
Published in volume form by McClure, Phillips & Co., 1902

I purchased this book as part of a volume The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes 37 Short Stories and a complete novel from The Strand Magazine.  Including 356 original illustrations by Sidney Paget.

This book is part of a Vintage Mystery Challenge, of which I am participating, hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.

The Hound of the Baskervilles synopsis:   The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes.  Set mostly in London and the moors of England's West Country, Dartmoor, The Hound of the Baskervilles is the story of an attempted murder upon men of the Baskerville family by a supernatural hound of giant proportions. 

Review:  The story opens with a visit from Dr. Mortimer, a friend of Sir Charles Baskerville, to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson at their London office.  Dr. Mortimer tells of his suspicions surrounding the death of his friend and of the large paw print found on the scene.  There is but one member of the Baskervilles known to be alive, Sir Henry Baskerville, he being the heir.  Dr. Mortimer enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson, to solve the mystery of the death/murder of his friend, Sir Charles, and to help prevent the same of the only known heir, Sir Henry Baskerville.  

Not believers in the supernatural, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson set out to investigate the curious happenings of Baskerville Hall in the Devon county.  Their adventures uncover more than one secret, more than one mystery, as they sleuth their way to solving the case.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a mastermind at mystery telling, and his stories of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson are well-renowned.  His attention to detail, the rhythm with which he writes, and the plot twists he conspires are second to none.  A century later, his works still bear the same attention as that of a master story teller.

I read this in almost one sitting, finding it difficult to put down.  Highly recommended for mystery, detective and classic lovers alike, I rate it a 5/5!

Note:  "This story owes its inception to my friend, Mr. Fletcher Robinson, who has helped me both in the general plot and in the local details. - A.C.D."  (a note included by the author)


Fascinating Background:  (according to Wikipedia but in my own words)  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, after returning from a trip to South Africa where he worked as a volunteer physician at the Langman Field Hospital in Bloemfontein, wrote this story with the assistance of journalist Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who helped with the plot.  It is thought his ideas came from the legend of Richard Cabell.  The Squire Richard Cabell, who lived during the 17th century, of Backastleight, was a passionate hunter and described as a "monstrously evil man".  His reputation of such was gained for immortality and supposedly selling his soul to the devil.  It is also rumoured he may have killed his wife.  He died July 5, 1677 and on the night of his internment, it is said a pack of hounds travelled across the moor, baying, and howled at his tomb.  The story goes that he could be found leading the ghostly pack across the moor, particularly on the anniversary of his death.  

There is a folklore of Devon which tells of the Yeth Hound, a frightening supernatural dog.  It is suggested that this story may have been of influence in writing The Hound of the Baskervilles.  It seems the area is well-known for stories of ghost dogs as there is the story of another, Black Shuck, from the Cromer area, said to haunt the area between Overstrand and East Runton.  



  1. I love this one by Conan Doyle! One of my favorites.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge. If you'd like to claim a prize, just send me an email at phryne1969 [AT] gmail [DOT] com and I'll send you the prize list.

  2. I want to read this even more after reading your thoughts on it!

    1. I am so glad you do Jessica! It is one of my favourites!

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