If you love mystery novels, you’ve probably heard of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s one of the most famous and popular stories featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. Watson. It was first published in 1902 and has been adapted into many movies, TV shows, and games.
But what makes this novel so special? Why is it considered a masterpiece of literature? And how can you enjoy reading it to the fullest?
In this article, I’ll answer these questions and give you some tips on how to appreciate The Hound of the Baskervilles . I’ll also share some fun facts and trivia about the novel and its author. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to dive into this thrilling adventure and have a great time.
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What is The Hound of the Baskervilles about?
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a novel that tells the story of a mysterious and deadly curse that haunts the Baskerville family. According to an old legend, a gigantic hound with glowing eyes and a fiery breath roams the moors around the Baskerville estate and kills anyone who bears the family name.
The novel begins when Dr. James Mortimer, a friend of the Baskervilles, visits Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in London. He tells them about the recent death of his patient, Sir Charles Baskerville, who was found dead on the moor with a look of horror on his face. He also shows them a manuscript that describes the origin of the curse and warns them that the last heir of the Baskervilles, Sir Henry, is in danger.
Holmes agrees to take the case and sends Watson to accompany Sir Henry to the Baskerville Hall, while he stays behind to investigate some clues. Watson soon discovers that there are many secrets and mysteries surrounding the Baskerville family and their neighbors. He also hears the terrifying howl of the hound at night and wonders if it’s real or a hoax.
Meanwhile, Holmes reveals himself to Watson and tells him that he has been hiding on the moor all along, disguised as a beggar. He explains that he has uncovered a sinister plot involving an escaped convict, a mysterious woman, and a cunning villain who is behind the hound. Together, they set a trap for the culprit and face the hound in a final showdown.
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Why is The Hound of the Baskervilles a masterpiece?
The Hound of the Baskervilles is widely regarded as one of the best novels ever written in the mystery genre. It has many elements that make it a masterpiece, such as:
- The characters: The novel features some of the most memorable and iconic characters in literature, such as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville, Dr. Mortimer, Mr. Stapleton, Miss Stapleton, Mr. Frankland, Mrs. Barrymore, Mr. Barrymore, and Selden. Each character has their own personality, background, motivation, and role in the story. They are realistic, complex, and believable.
- The plot: The novel has a well-crafted and intricate plot that keeps the reader engaged and curious throughout. It has many twists and turns, clues and red herrings, suspense and surprises. It also has a satisfying and logical resolution that reveals all the secrets and mysteries.
- The setting: The novel has a vivid and atmospheric setting that creates a sense of mood and tone for the story. The moor is described as a wild and desolate place that is full of dangers and mysteries. It contrasts with the civilized and rational world of London where Holmes and Watson live. The moor also serves as a symbol of the dark and primal forces that lurk beneath the surface of human nature.
- The theme: The novel explores some interesting and universal themes that resonate with readers across time and cultures. Some of these themes are: good vs evil, reason vs superstition, science vs tradition, loyalty vs betrayal, family vs individuality, nature vs nurture, etc.
How to enjoy reading The Hound of the Baskervilles?
Reading The Hound of the Baskervilles can be a fun and rewarding experience if you follow some simple tips:
- Read with an open mind: Don’t let your expectations or preconceptions influence your reading experience. Be ready to be surprised and challenged by the novel. Don’t judge the characters or the author by your own standards or values. Try to understand their perspectives and motivations.
- Read with attention: Pay attention to the details and the clues that the author provides throughout the novel. Try to solve the mystery along with Holmes and Watson. Don’t skip or skim any parts of the novel. You might miss something important or interesting.
- Read with imagination: Use your imagination to visualize the scenes and the characters in the novel. Try to feel the emotions and sensations that they experience. Imagine yourself in their shoes and wonder what you would do in their situations.
- Read with curiosity: Be curious about the novel and its author. Learn more about the historical and cultural context of the novel. Find out more about the life and works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read some of his other stories and novels featuring Sherlock Holmes and other characters. Compare and contrast them with The Hound of the Baskervilles.
- Read with others: Share your thoughts and opinions about the novel with other readers. Join a book club or an online forum where you can discuss the novel with other fans. Read some reviews and critiques of the novel by professional critics and scholars. See how they interpret and evaluate the novel.
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Fun facts and trivia about The Hound of the Baskervilles
Here are some fun facts and trivia about The Hound of the Baskervilles that you might not know:
- The novel was inspired by a real legend of a ghostly hound that haunted Dartmoor, a region in Devon, England, where the novel is set. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited Dartmoor in 1901 and heard about the legend from his friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson, who also helped him with some of the plot ideas.
- The novel was originally published in serial form in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902. It was a huge success and increased the magazine’s circulation by 30,000 copies. It was later published as a book in 1902 by George Newnes Ltd.
- The novel marked the return of Sherlock Holmes after his apparent death in “The Final Problem”, a short story published in 1893. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had killed off Holmes because he wanted to focus on other types of writing, but he was persuaded by his publisher and his fans to bring him back. He decided to set The Hound of the Baskervilles before Holmes’ death, so he wouldn’t have to explain how he survived.
- The novel has been adapted into many different media, such as movies, TV shows, radio plays, stage plays, comics, games, etc. Some of the most famous adaptations are:
- The 1939 movie starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Watson, directed by Sidney Lanfield.
- The 1959 movie starring Peter Cushing as Holmes and André Morell as Watson, directed by Terence Fisher.
- The 1988 TV movie starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Watson, directed by Brian Mills.
- The 2002 TV movie starring Richard Roxburgh as Holmes and Ian Hart as Watson, directed by David Attwood.
- The 2012 TV episode “The Hounds of Baskerville” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, part of the series Sherlock, created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
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Here are some frequently asked questions about The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
- Q: Is The Hound of the Baskervilles a horror novel?
- A: No, it’s not a horror novel, although it has some elements of horror, such as the supernatural hound, the gloomy moor, and the gruesome deaths. It’s mainly a mystery novel that follows the rational and scientific methods of Sherlock Holmes to solve a crime.
- Q: Is The Hound of the Baskervilles based on a true story?
- A: No, it’s not based on a true story, although it was inspired by a real legend of a ghostly hound that haunted Dartmoor. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented most of the characters and events in the novel, using his imagination and creativity.
- Q: Is The Hound of the Baskervilles suitable for children?
- A: Yes, it’s suitable for children who are interested in mystery novels and can handle some violence and suspense. It’s not too graphic or explicit in its descriptions of blood or gore. It also has some positive messages about friendship, courage, justice, etc.
- Q: What is the moral of The Hound of the Baskervilles?
- A: There is no single moral or lesson in the novel, but it explores some interesting and universal themes that resonate with readers across time and cultures. Some of these themes are: good vs evil, reason vs superstition, science vs tradition, loyalty vs betrayal, family vs individuality, nature vs nurture, etc.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a classic mystery novel that features Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It tells the story of a mysterious and deadly curse that haunts the Baskerville family and how they try to solve it with the help of the famous detective.
The novel is a masterpiece of literature that has many elements that make it special, such as the characters, the plot, the setting, and the theme. It also has many adaptations in different media that show its popularity and influence.
Reading The Hound of the Baskervilles can be a fun and rewarding experience if you follow some tips on how to appreciate it. You can also learn more about the novel and its author by exploring some fun facts and trivia.
In conclusion, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a novel that you should not miss if you love mystery novels and want to enjoy a thrilling adventure with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It will keep you hooked from the first page to the last and make you think about the mysteries of life and human nature.
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