Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Cynthia N, III B. A. English

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has carved a niche for itself in literary history. Readers never fail to be fascinated by the mastermind detective and his quirks. That Sherlock Holmes has wormed his way into readers’ hearts is evident from the fact that readers pelted Doyle’s house with eggs and sent him a volley of letters, beseeching and demanding him to bring Sherlock Holmes back to life when Doyle himself was determined to kill him.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, the Baskerville family seems to be targeted by a monstrous hound that hunts down the family members. Sir Charles Baskerville dies of a heart attack and the imprint of the huge paw of a hound is spotted near his corpse. Everyone speculates that this might be the handiwork of supernatural, fiendish forces, well past the control of man. However, as Holmes and Watson set off in search of the truth, Holmes unveils a masterful plot with deception at its core.

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is set in the gloomy marshes of the Grimpen Moor and the ominous setting foregrounds the eerie mood of the novel. Conan Doyle hides clues in the very descriptive parts of the text- those parts that a reader might be tempted to skim through quickly, so that no part of the book is superfluous. The several mysteries that lie waiting to be solved snag the attention of the reader and keep it from wandering.

The enigmatic quality of Sherlock Holmes drags the reader deep into the intricacies of the story. Holmes sniffs for clues to solve the puzzle, almost as hound-like as the Baskerville hound itself. He leaves the readers awe-struck with his knack of putting two and two seemingly unrelated things together to form one perfect solution. The famous detective seems to battle against forces that defy all human rationale – forces that form the stuff of myths and legends in order to save the life of Sir Henry Baskerville, who inherits the Baskerville property.

Holmes and Watson are faced with the task of bringing the truth to light and proving that the Baskerville hound is not a beast from hell, and that the problem can be resolved by rationality. Do the daring duo succeed or do they face defeat?

    Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is a gripping read and is a must read for those who enjoy mystery novels that do not allow them to put them down until they have finished it.

[Photograph Source: Internet]

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