Review ~ The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Cover via Goodreads

Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate? (via Goodreads)

Back during the Readers Imbibing Peril event, Amanda at Simpler Pastimes hosted The Hound of the Baskervilles read-a-long. As good as that sounded, I was super busy in October and had vowed not to over-extend myself. So I penciled in my own reread of Hound for January/February. In her thoughts about Hound, Amanda mentioned The Castle of Otranto, which I later recognized as part of the Gothic Reading Challenge and decided to more directly pair the two.

The Hound of the Baskervilles was published (and probably written) after Doyle had killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem.” Can you imagine how excited the reading public was to get more Holmes after nearly a decade? Except… Hound is pretty light on Holmes. Watson does a lot of investigating on his own and Holmes swoops in near the end with the last puzzle piece. It’s a decent mystery, but it’s a better gothic novel.

We have a lustful villain, a family curse, secret marriages, people creeping about dark houses, a chase, and potential supernatural elements. Doyle does it all very atmospherically. I was a little surprised at the convict sub-plot which I didn’t remember. “Well, as long as he’s fleeing to South America and not hanging around…” is not really the height of prison reform.

Publishing info, my copy: I started out using a complete Sherlock Holmes edition on my Kindle, but it was slow going with little external feedback on progress. I finished with Barnes & Noble Books, 1992, Hardback
Acquired: At a Barnes & Noble, possibly the one I frequented in Lincoln, NE
Genre: mystery, gothic
Previously: I was probably about 11 when I first tore through Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.
See Also: Tim Prasil recently covered the 1983 film version of the story, starring Ian Richardson, in his In the Shadow of Rathbone feature.

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9 thoughts on “Review ~ The Hound of the Baskervilles

  1. Tim Prasil

    So far, I also have reviews of two other film versions of Hound along with the one you mention. They’re all at my blog. It’s probably the most filmed canonical story, and it’s fun to see how screenwriters spin, enhance, and — yeah — sometimes hurt the original.

    Speaking of that, just a couple of nights ago, I re-watched the re-imagined version, “The Hounds of Baskerville,” done for the BBC Sherlock series (with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman). Mark Gatiss’ script is very clever and does a nice job of giving even those who’ve read the novel a surprise or two.

    1. I love comparing versions of texts/adaptations, so your Shadow of Rathbone posts always get love from me! I was just amused at the coincidental timing.

      I’ve been meaning to rewatch the Sherlock episode because I’m sure I miss a reference or two. That’s half the fun of Sherlock. I think I have the Jeremy Brett version too.

    1. I still haven’t rewatched it! But there are definitely some great nods in the Sherlock version to the original (Watson is sent off first and Lestrade shows up later in the story). The BBC version definitely has more Sherlock. 😉

      I was an odd kid…

  2. I hadn’t thought about it before, but you’re right, there is a lot less mystery/Holmes in this one. I think that that + the wonderfully Gothic atmosphere is what makes it so rereadable–knowing the outcome doesn’t diminish the enjoyment.

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