The first year of publication: 1902
The edition I read: 11th edition
The number of pages it has: 125 pages
The story begins at a normal morning in the house of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson. They are examining a stick, left behind by a visitor, it is immediately clear that Holmes is extremely intelligent because he knows what kind of man the owner of the stick is, a country doctor with who does a lot of walking and that he has a dog.
Then the owner of the stick is visiting them and he turns out to be quite right. The man is called Dr. Mortimer and he came visiting them to ask Holmes for assistance in a case, he brings along an old eighteenth-century manuscript, which tells the story of the “curse of the Baskervilles”:
In the time of the Civil War Hugo Baskerville had kidnapped a country girl and locked her up in a room. When he found out that she had escaped he chased her over the moor. His friends followed him and when they came to an open space they saw the bodies of the girl and of Sir Hugo and over the body of Sir Hugo stood a great, black beast, shaped like a hound yet larger then anyone had ever seen before. Since then, that hound has plagued the Baskervilles and many of them died of mysterious causes.
Holmes laughs at this story but then Dr. Mortimer reads a recent newspaper account, which tells about the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. His body was found dead on the Moor, near his house, Baskerville Hall. There were no signs of violence on the body but a few yards away from it, they found the footprints of a gigantic hound.
Sir Charles’s heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, has come over from Canada would arrive the next day at Waterloo station. Holmes invites both of them, Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry, the next morning to his house on Baker Street in London.
The next morning Sir Henry Baskerville and Dr. Mortimer visit Holmes. Sir Henry tells him that he has received an anonymous letter in which he is warned to stay away from the moor; he also tells that one of his new boots is missing.
When Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer leave, Holmes and Watson decide to follow them and they find out that a black bearded man is following their guests.
The next day Sir Henry tells Holmes that he has found his missing boot but now he is missing his old boot. Dr. Mortimer tells Holmes that the only black bearded man he knows on the moor is Mr. Barrymore, Sir Charles’s butler. Holmes wants to check if Barrymore is at Baskerville Hall, he sends him a telegram:
“Telegram to Mr. Barrymore; to be delivered into his own hand. If absent, return wire to Sir Henry Baskerville.”
Sir Henry is planning to go to Baskerville Hall, which is located on the Dartmoor in Devon accompanied by Dr. Mortimer. Holmes insists that Watson is also coming along to look after Sir Henry, for Holmes is convinced that his life is in great danger.
There comes a telegram back for Holmes, which says that Barrymore is at Baskerville Hall.
Dr. Watson, Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry then set off to Baskerville Hall; when they arrive there Mr. and Mrs. Barrynore are welcoming them.
The next day Dr. Watson visits the Stapletons of Merrepit house, Mr. Stapleton is a small man between thirty and forty years old, he is a collector of butterflies and other botanical specimens. When Mr. Stapleton has left him Miss Stapleton, a beautiful woman, comes running towards him and she begs him to go back to London but when she sees that it is Dr. Watson she explains that she thought he was Sir Henry.
In Dr. Watsons first report to Holmes he tells him about the escaped convict on the moor, it is the Notting Hill murderer and he escaped from the Dartmoor prison. Watson has also seen Barrymore sneaking around in the house at night, he was standing in front of a window with a candle in his hand and staring out over the moor.
Watson talks with Sir Henry about Barrymore and they make a plan to see what he is doing at night.
The next day Sir Henry, who felt attracted to Mr. Stapletons Beautiful sister, Miss Stapleton, declares his love for her but when Mr. Stapleton sees this he becomes angry and takes his sister away from Sir Henry. However, this quarrel was made up.
That night Sir Henry and Dr. Watson trap Barrymore staring out over the moor again. He explains that the brother of his wife, the Notting Hill murderer called Selden is starving on the moor and he and his wife give him food and clothing every night. The candle is used to signal to Selden. Dr. Watson and Sir Henry look trough the window and they see a small light out on the moor. They decide to go out and capture Selden but he manages to escape however Watson sees a silhouette of a tall, thin, silent figure standing on top of a hill nearby, the next moment he vanished. Watson knew that this mysterious man was not Selden.
The next morning Barrymore asks Sir Henry and Dr. Watson not to hunt on his brother-in-law anymore, Sir Henry and Dr. Watson agree with that and Barrymore wants to do something in return for that. So he tells them that he found a part of a letter addressed to Sir Charles by a lady who signed herself L.L. In it, she asked Sir Charles to be at the gate by ten o’clock at the day that he died.
Dr. Watson finds out that the woman who sent the letter is Laura Lyons but when he asks her some questions she wouldn’t answer them.
When Dr. Watson visits Mr. Frankland, another man who lives on the moor, he sees trough Mr. Franklands telescope that a small boy is running across the moor with a bundle over his shoulder.
Dr. Watson than goes to the place where he had last seen the boy and he finds an old stone hut on the moor in which someone had lived in. He decides to wait and see who comes to the hut and to his utter astonishment he finds out that it is Sherlock Holmes. Holmes tells him that he was the man Watson saw on the hill the night they attempted to capture Selden.
Holmes tells Watson that Miss Stapleton is actually married with Mr. Stapleton and that there is an intimacy between Mr. Stapleton and Miss Laura Lyons. He also tells him that Mr. Stapleton is the murderer of Sir Charles and that he is now planning to kill Sir Henry. Stapleton was also the man who followed Sir Henry in London. Holmes tells Watson that his net are closing in on Stapleton and that is only to hope that he does not strike Sir Henry before his net are finished
But as they are talking in the hut they hear a terrible scream. Holmes and Watson run towards it and they find the body of a man wearing Sir Henry’s clothes but it turns out to be Selden who was wearing Sir Henry’s clothes, which Barrymore had given him. The hound has been laid on from Sir Henry’s missing boot, which was stolen in the hotel.
Holmes doesn’t know Stapletons motive but one of the many portraits at Baskerville Hall shows a remarkable likeness with Stapleton. It turns out that Stapleton is actually the son of Sir Charles’s younger brother.
The next thing they do is visiting Miss Laura Lyons. Stapleton had offered her a marriage under the condition that she could get divorced from her wicked husband. Miss Laura Lyons sent Sir Charles a letter on suggestion of Stapleton. He gave her the reason that Sir Charles would help to cover the expenses connected to her divorce. But then Stapleton told her not to go but Sir Charles didn’t know that so he was at the gate of the moor where Stapleton released his hound.
Holmes calls in the help of his rival Lestrade. Holmes’s plan was to let Sir Henry visit Stapleton and to let him walk back across the moor, Stapleton would unleash his hound and Holmes Watson and Lestrade would kill it.
That night the hound is unleashed and Holmes kills it by shooting five barrels into his flank.
Next, they hurry to Stapletons house where they hope to catch Stapleton but he has escaped, they do find his wife tied up to an upright beam in his house.
The next day they find out that Stapleton had tried to reach an island in the middle of the great mire on the moor, this is the place where he kept his hound. But he had drowned in the mire because he couldn’t see the small path in the dark and foggy night.
When Stapleton found out there where only two men between him and a valuable estate he decided to kill them. So he bought the biggest hound he could get and treated it with phosphorus for a furious look. This look scared Sir Charles to death. His plan almost succeeded but it didn’t because of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
Sherlock Holmes is a thin and tall man, for relaxation he plays the violin and smokes the strongest tobacco available. Holmes became familiar to the public by his eccentrics, his clothes, his tools and most of all his amazing mental powers. Holmes’s companion and assistant, Dr Watson, is a naive medical man. His stupid mistakes are most often vital for solving the case. They serve to set off the superhuman intelligence of Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes’s behaviour does not really change and neither does Dr. Watsons. There is just one line in the book where Holmes’s emotions are not calm and cool, which is when they hear the terrible scream when Selden dies. Watson says that the “man of iron” is shaken to the soul.
The pair became so famous that many people believed and still believe that they really existed. The house in Baker Street where they are supposed to have lived still recieves thousands of letters every year, addressed to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. But When Conan Doyle became tired of Sherlock Holmes he decided to kill him off in one of his books (“the final problem”). Holmes fans from all over the world sent in vehement letters of protest against the author and the author was forced to bring him back alive in one of his books (“the empty house”). It is hardly an exaggeration that Holmes has become part of the mythology of the western world.
I think that the title of the book is what it is all about. The whole book is about this mysterious hound of the Baskervilles so the author thought it also had to be in the title.
The theme of the book is that the detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson are being called to solve a mysterious case about a ferocious hound, which lives on the moor and murders the Baskerville family.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburg, may 22nd 1859. He studied medicines in Edinburg and practised it for a number of years in Southsea. His books A study in scarlet (1887), Micah Clarke (1888) and The sign of four (1890) had so much success that he decided to abandon his medical career and become a writer. Conan Doyle is chiefly remembered for his creation of the amateur detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson. In the later years of his life he became more and more interested in the spiritualism and he wrote a book about it, History of spiritualism (1926). His most famous detective novel is the hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in Crowborough, 7th July 1930.
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