Okay, so The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Doyle’s four novels about Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson and their extraordinarily exciting adventures. Furthermore, it is the third and longest novel about Sherlock Holmes that I have yet to read. I have read a few (more like half) of the 56 short stories so I was interested to see whether I would find this longer novel to be too long. It wasn’t.
In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes is met with a seemingly sinister and supernatural case. The late Charles Baskerville is believed to have been killed by a devil-beast in the form of a hound. There is a legend among the Baskervilles about the hound and all descendants are warned never to venture out into the moor when dark outside. Now, after the death of Charles Baskerville, his only heir seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and his trusty right hand man, Watson.
What I really liked about this novel is that I had no idea of what to expect from the plot and storyline. There were things that I found to be fishy but it wasn’t one of those novels where you already know the ending two chapters in. What really held my interest was the hound. Having read a quite a few of the Sherlock Holmes stories resulted in me thinking “But it can’t be an actual supernatural beast! I mean, it’s Sherlock Holmes!”. However, during most of the book, I was truly in doubt. Now, I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that I found it to be well thought of and to be pulled off well.
One of my only complaints of this particular Sherlock Holmes novel was the absence of Sherlock Holmes in the middle of the novel. But I loved the way in which he reentered the story! Holmes is such an interesting and amusing character and I just love the dynamic between him and Watson! So, for me, a bit of this dynamic was lacking (just automatically as Holmes wasn’t there) but even thought Holmes didn’t join Watson in the countryside, we still see signs of the dynamic:
“I am certainly developing the wisdom of the serpent, for when Mortimer pressed his questions to an inconvenient extent I asked him casually to what type Frankland’s skull belonged, and so heard nothing but craniology for the rest of our drive. I have not lived for years with Sherlock Holmes for nothing.”
Something about this made me laugh—out loud. I think it’s the though of Watson being all sneaky and distracting Holmes by something as simple as asking him a question about something he finds interesting. Anyhow, even though I would have liked a bit more Watson-Holmes comedy, I really liked the novel! There was a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue, some horror and grit. As always, not all was as it appeared (obviously a pretty standard feature in a mystery novel) but it was very fun to figure it all out.
I give this novel four stars. If it had had a little bit more of Sherlock Holmes, it probably would have been 4.5 stars but there’s no use crying over spilled milk (And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is way too far away to care). It’s just a really great read! So if you’re thinking about reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I would definitely recommend it! Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories or novels? Which was your favorite? Let me know!