The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thought he had finished forever with his immortal sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler, Dr Watson. Exhausted and bored with the Holmes saga, he wanted to turn to more serious writing. In the short story The Final Problem, published in 1893 as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, the author had sent Holmes plunging to his doom into the Reichenbach Falls. However, by 1901, Doyle found himself in severe financial difficulties. It was then that he resurrected his popular detective. The Hound of the Baskervilles is set in time before the Reichenbach and as the publishers had predicted, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once again struck gold!
The Hound of the Baskervilles is thrilling, tightly-plotted and full of atmosphere. Set in the misty and sinister landscape of Dartmoor, it was inspired by the true story of a wicked 17th century Squire who lived in the West Country. Tales of the man's villainous ways were whispered about and when he finally died, his evil spirit continued to roam the moors, leading a pack of supernatural hounds who were often seen at his tomb!
In the novel, Sir James Mortimer, a physician and friend of the Baskervilles, a noble country family consults Holmes in London and seeks his help. Sir Charles Baskerville, the owner of a mansion called Baskerville Hall has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, which lead Sir James to fear that he was the victim of a strange and fatal family curse. A remote ancestor, notorious for his debauched ways, had been violently killed by a hell-hound with supernatural powers. People in the neighboring village report having seen an enormous hound on the moors at night. Mortimer now fears that Sir Charles has been visited by this terrible creature whose mission is to destroy the Baskerville family.
The heir to the estate, Sir Henry Baskerville, is on his way home from Canada to claim his inheritance. Mortimer is apprehensive that Sir Henry will be the next target of this terrible creature. Holmes and Watson set out for Baskerville Hall. As he remarks, “The game's afoot!”
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a masterpiece of chilling detective fiction. It has been extensively adapted for radio, film and television all over the world. The story has lent its name to a psycho-medical condition called the Baskerville Effect – heart ailments caused by psychological stress! In all, a great read for that cold and rainy night!
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