Recent Events

Friday 6 August 2021

‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Published by Amazon Classics,
26 September 2017

The legend of the Baskervilles warns that, after an evil crime committed in the 18th Century, the Baskervilles will be haunted by a gigantic, supernatural hound. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies in his own grounds, his face contorted by fear, the official coroner's verdict is of heart failure but this does not quell the rumours that he was scared to death by the Hound. Dr Mortimer, Sir Charles' friend and physician, knows that Sir Charles had suffered from heart trouble for some time, but he still feels uneasy enough about the safety of Sir Charles' heir, Henry Baskerville, to consult Sherlock Holmes.

When Sir Henry arrives from Canada to claim his inheritance, strange events surround him before he even reaches Devonshire. In London he receives an anonymous letter, warning him: 'As you value your life and reason keep away from the moor,' and single boots from two pairs, one new and one old, disappear mysteriously from his hotel.

Holmes sends Dr Watson to accompany Sir Henry and Dr Mortimer when they go down to Baskerville Hall. Here Watson finds all the ingredients of a first-class melodrama: sinister servants with a tragic secret; sobbing at night and strange lights on the moor; a dangerous, escaped convict; neighbours, most of them eccentric, who also nurse secrets and grudges, but one neighbour is a very beautiful woman who seems attracted to Sir Henry; the treacherous moor, where one wrong step can find you sucked down to your doom; and of course Baskerville Hall itself. 'Suddenly we looked down into a cuplike depression, patched with stunted oaks and firs which had been twisted and bent by the fury of years of storm. Two high, narrow towers rose over the trees. The driver pointed with his whip. “Baskerville Hall,” said he.'

Added to all this drama there is a man, who appears at night, silhouetted against the moon. 'He stood with his legs a little separated, his arms folded, his head bowed, as if he were brooding over that enormous wilderness of peat and granite which lay before him. He might have been the very spirit of that terrible place.' And, if all that wasn't enough, there's the eventual appearance of the Hound itself. 'A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame.' No wonder sensible, prosaic Dr Watson thinks he has stumbled into a nightmare.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a very well-known book and even more familiar through numerous television adaptations. It is a book that showcases all of Holmes 'clever' deductions and pokes fun at his childish vanity; but it is also a book that shows Watson at his loyal, courageous best. The new, Pulp the Classics edition, has been designed to give it the feel of an old-fashioned book but the lively front cover illustration and the irreverent (and very funny) blurb on both back and front give a very different feel to the book, compared to the more staid and sensible covers I had previously been accustomed to. I was interested to discover that this did actually effect the way I approached the book, even though it was a story I had known for many years. It heightened my awareness of the melodramatic tone of the book and highlighted features I had taken for granted before. I think Pulp the Classics could be a good way to introduce The Hound of the Baskervilles to a new readership and also jolt some people who do know the book into a new perception of it.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Sir Arthur Conan was born in Edinburgh and studied medicine. He began writing while he waited for his practice to grow and, with 1887's A Study in Scarlet, created Sherlock Holmes, one of the most famous literary characters of all time. He was a volunteer physician in the Boer War and wrote a book on spiritualism.

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 5 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.
To read a review of Carol latest book This Game of Ghosts
click on the title.

No comments:

Post a Comment