Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sherlock Holmes: Hound of the Baskervilles

This is a classic tome from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For Sherlock Holme's lovers and for the lovers of detective novels, it is a must-read. Set in the moors of England, you can get a feel for the desolation of the place and for the suspense hanging. It is considered to be one of the best works for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and was released in 1902 in book form.
What is the story about? Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are in their Baker Street lodgings when they receive a visit from Dr. James Mortimer, who is due to receive the last heir of the Baskerville Mansion, who is returning from abroad. He is very apprehensive about taking Sir Henry Baskerville to Baskerville estate in Broadmoor; when pressed, he reveals that this is due to the circumstances of the death of the last lord of Baskerville Hall, who died in his garden with a sign of acute terror on his face. Examination did not show any apparent physical reason for this death.
There is apparently a family legend about a huge and terrible hound that killed one of the previous owners of the Hall, Sir Hugo Baskerville, a couple of centuries back. Holmes is not exactly a believer of the supersititious, but does not dismiss anything outright. Dr. James Mortimer is more likely to believe it because of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. In addition, near the body he had found the footmarks of a giant dog.
What begins is a cat and mouse game between Holmes and his unseen adversary. Things start happening before Sir Henry Baskerville even leaves London, with his shoes being stolen. Holmes sends Watson to Baskerville Hall, but refuses to come himself. Watson does his end of the investigation, and finds a few things, such as a convict being loose on the moors, and being related to the house-keeper who sends food to him. Sir Henry becomes acquainted by the brother-sister pair of Stapletons who are naturalists, and starts developing an affection for the sister. All attempts are made to keep him away from the moor, so that even if they do not believe in a giant dog, still no reason to put him in harm's way.
When things start heating up, Watson pursues a figure in the moor, who turns out to be Sherlock Holmes, who has been living on the moor. He had learnt a lot of things, but in order to get proof, Holmes needs to offer Sir Henry Baskerville as a bait to the hound, and when a sudden mist arrives on the scene, can they prevent the bait from being accepted? It is a suspenseful climax, but well worth the reading.

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