The Hound of the Baskervilles

Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog.

I haven’t read many of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but I know that they have been wildly popular over the decades.  The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the stories I’ve heard about the most but had never read.  It seems Doyle increases the scary factor for this one.   Using the full moon on a dark night over the foggy moor at the Baskerville estate, he gives the reader an ample supply of chills.  Pitting the Natural against the Supernatural, Doyle charges the atmosphere of the story with more emotion than the cerebral plots of other Holmes mysteries; although, Holmes’ intellect still takes center stage.

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With many mysteries, I sometimes am disappointed with the way the story wraps up.  It seems too common to pull something out of thin air in revealing the culprit.  In this mystery; however, I enjoyed Holmes’ and Dr. Watson’s thought processes and how the two of them figured out the mystery about two-thirds of the way through the book.  The remaining third involves setting a trap for the criminal – which gave more opportunity for creepiness.

The format of the mystery made me realize how much police and detective stories on television have been influenced by Doyle’s masterful sleuths.  In the book, they determine and interview all of the usual suspects with each interview bringing forth a new aspect to the story.  The stereotypical “red herrings” are not necessarily found in this story; however, enough details and back stories are given to allow the reader to legitimately wonder about most of the suspects.

How many Sherlock Holmes mysteries have you read?  What are your favorites?

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5 responses to “The Hound of the Baskervilles

  1. I just finished reading the entire canon, and this remains my absolute favorite l the stories and novels. Like you said, there is no need for red herrings ore other tricks — Doyle comes as near to writing the perfect mystery here as has ever been done, imho.

    • Reading the entire canon is very impressive! I have only started reading Doyle’s stories. It’s difficult to imagine getting any better than this one, though. Thanks for stopping by!
      -Dale

      • Thanks! I’m quite pleased myself — I decided to read the whole canon in a year, and I finished a couple of days ago with a few weeks to spare!

        I found you through the Classics Club, btw. Had half an hour to myself today and decided to read other members’ reviews of various Sherlock Holmes books. I am quite enjoying your blog, and intend to follow it. It’s nice to “meet” you!

      • It’s nice to meet you, also! I’ve enjoyed my classic club reading and am getting back into it after a brief break. I read on your blog that you are a homeschooler. My wife and I have homeschooled our four kids – the oldest is getting ready to graduate. We know what you mean when you say that you had a half hour to yourself.

      • Wow, that’s great! I was homeschooled K-12 myself, and know both what a joy and how much work it is. Congratulations-in-advance on nearly completing your homeschooling journey! My oldest is in Kindergarten, so I’m technically just beginning, but it’s so rewarding already.

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