The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles relates how a family legend begins to kill the members of the Baskerville family. Dr. Mortimor, former friend and physician to now deceased Sir Charles Baskerville, comes to Sherlock Holmes with a story; the story of the hound of the Baskervilles. It is in many ways like a legend that has continued through the family for generations, but Dr. Mortimor has begun to be afraid of it. It seems that the legend is becoming the truth and Sir Charles Baskerville's death was caused by his fear at seeing the deadly hound. Withholding some information from the coroner, the young doctor gives the odd facts to Sherlock Holmes and entreats him to give him his solution. Is the death of Sir Charles Baskerville caused by the immortal hound that is said to have ripped out the throat of their cruel ancestor Sir Hugo Baskerville, or is it a clever ruse used to manipulate the public into thinking the deaths are supernatural?

Sherlock Holmes is intrigued. It is just this type of unique case that he tackles. The Doctor is now worried for the new heir to the Baskerville manor, Sir Henry Baskerville, a nephew of Sir Charles. Holmes sends his colleague, Dr. Watson, along with the doctor and Sir Henry to the manor to keep an eye on things; he advises Watson to stick to Sir Henry and never let him walk alone on the moor - the lonely moor where the deaths occur and the hound is spotted by the locals. If the deaths are not supernatural, who could have it out for the Baskervilles? The motive of inheritance is impossible; no near relations are left as the youngest brother of Sir Charles died without a son. Is it one of the neighbours? or someone with a touch of insanity? Sherlock Holmes believes he is close to the truth, when one day, roaming the moor with his colleague, he is dismayed to find another dead body.

In this dreary place, neighbours are scarce. The only close neighbours Sir Charles Baskerville had were the Stapletons - a brother and sister, and Frankland, the local crank. The only servants at the manor are Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore whose family has served the Baskervilles for generations. It is among these people that Sherlock Holmes must search for his killer if he is to dispel the myth of the hound.

Spoiler alert:
The story was well-written, but I found it a little unreal. The motive though easily guessable (inheritance of the property by Stapleton, whose real name turns out to be Baskerville), was not believable and I found myself rushing through the whole book. I liked how a murder was committed under the cover of a superstition, but it should be obvious to any reader that there would be no immortal hound which specifically targeted the Baskervilles. A mortal hand to guide any hound was necessary.

There were a lot of inconsistencies in the plot that even Sherlock Holmes couldn't explain (though he tries!) How the murder of Sir Henry Baskerville would have been carried out is not explained satisfactorily; Stapleton accepting his inheritance when everyone knew him as Stapleton would raise suspicion. Although he characters were interesting, the plot lacked something: well-roundedness with no loose ends.

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