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?
I’ve been reading a lot of mystery books lately, and even if they weren’t completely mysteries, they at least had a gothic, mysterious aspect to them. This is one of the few Sherlock Holmes novels, and widely considered to be the best. I’ve always liked Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid, and like lots of other people, the movie and the TV show has really renewed my interest. I would probably consider Sherlock my favorite TV show (I watch very little television), and the episode of the same name as the book is probably my favorite episode of the whole series. I’ve read quite a few short stories, and I read A Study in Scarlet when I was in 5th grade, so it’s time that I read this one.
The setting and atmosphere have been very highly praised, and I definitely agree. The misty moor and supernatural elements are creepy, and when I read the last half of the book alone at night, I felt the suspense. The descriptions are beautiful and eerie. The first half of the book was a little slow-moving and boring to me, but that just might have been that I was busy while I was reading it and couldn’t really get into it. This mystery has an interesting dynamic through the perspective. Watson is telling the story as a narrative, but in the middle he defaults to letters and his diary to carry along the story, until defaulting back to memory. Also interesting is the fact that Holmes is absent for a large chunk of the book, and Watson has a chance to shine. I really enjoyed Watson and seeing his personality without Sherlock. Despite this, we still get to see Holmes’ characteristic personality and all that good stuff, because who doesn’t love Sherlock’s personality? The last half of the book is action-packed and moves quickly. Of course, the mystery is well crafted and complex. I really enjoyed it.
The way supernatural elements are represented and reacted to are strange in relation to Conan Doyle’s later descent into spiritualism. That can be looked at in many different ways, but considering that all throughout the supernatural is cast in a negative light, and belief in such is portrayed as a weakness, I found it kind of ironic.
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural
Length: 256 Pages
Publisher: (of the edition pictured above) Melville House