ALAN NOLAN TITLE : THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
AUTHOR : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
PUBLISHER : John Murray (Publishers) Ltd.,
NOTE ON THE AUTHOR Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created arguably the most famous detective of all time when he wrote the many adventure stories concerning Sherlock Holmes.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of his most famous works mainly because it has been immortalised on tv and film.
He was a very serious and out spoken man and was particularly enraged by public lack of concern over the Boer War. He spoke of this in published letters, while working as a field doctor in SouthAfrica.
SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL The story begins with the meeting between Dr Mortimor, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, where the former anxiously narrates the legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles and the recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville.
A second meeting occurs at Baker Street with Dr Mortimor and Sir Henry Baskerville, the heir to Baskerville hall and the Baskerville fortune.
Sherlock Holmes agrees at this meeting to take the case on and despatches Dr Watson off with Sir Henry and Dr Mortimor to Dartmoor, promising he will follow Watson down to Dartmoor as soon as he concludes his present case.
Sir Henry's servant 'Barrymore' and his wife, are very enigmatic and act suspicious. It is later discovered that an escaped convict prowling on the moors is related to them and they are harbouring him.Barrymore is caught signalling the convict from one of the windows and he and his wife are made to confess.
The Stapeltons - neighbours of Sir Henrys - are the only human suspects, Sir Henry is infatuated by Stapeltons attractive wife who he believes is his sister and starts courting her.He is subsequently invited to dinner.
Sherlock Holmes.Holmes tells Watson he has been hiding on the moors for the last few days, and that he knows whom the killer is.
The myth of the hound is put to rest, as Sherlock Holmes explains the mystery to Watson .The hound is actually a starved bloodhound kept by Stapleton.
The convict is killed by the hound ,while being chased by Holmes and Watson across the moors.
The hound is shot dead by Dr Watson when Sir Henry is returning home from dinning at the Stapletons,Stapleton then runs off into the mire being chased by Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes and Lestrade, they eventually give up the chase and Stapleton is presumed to have been devoured by the mire.
Berly stapleton was indeed a very beatiful women. Her long dark hair streamed over her shoulders, her face was oval with large brown sparkling eyes , her lips sensuously curved.
She was not like the pale white looking women you would pass in the streets of London her skin was a golden brown colour.Her tall slender shapely body had obviously attracted many a young mans eye.
She was a devoted wife and would do anything her husband asked of her even if it meant pretending to be his sister, and not his wife to entice Sir Henry but when it come assisting him in murder she turned against him.
Her unwillingness to help her husband in the act of murder was apparent in page 85 when she tried to warn Dr Watson - mistaking him for Sir Henry and again in the last chapter when her husband bound and gagged her in one of the rooms at their home.
Although she loved him very much he treated her badly and gave her beatings, he was just using her as tool to acquire the baskerville fortune and she was blind to his wicked plans.
Jack Stapleton was a man in his mid thirtes. He was short, slim and had fair coloured hair. His eyes were grey and his clean-shaven face enhanced his sharp features.
He was the elligitemate son of Roger Baskerville and had invested his inheritance in a school in the North country.He lost all his money, when three of the boys had died from a mysterious epidemic.
With his inheritance gone he now used his deviant mind to scheme up a plan to claim Baskerville Hall and the baskerville Forune.
He was desperate man who cruelly beat his wife and deceived Mrs Lyons into divorcing her husband on a promise he would marry her.
He had planned the murder of Sir Charles Baskerville and heartlessly used Mrs Lyons as the bait for his trap knowing that Sir Charles was a charitable and honourable man would come to her assistance.
When Sherlock Holmes questioned the hackney driver to find out who the mysterious man was who was following Dr mortimer and Sir Henry the drivers reply was' he said His name was Sherlock Holmes', Holmes knew then he was dealing with a very cunning and devious man.This man was none other than jack Stapleton.
Stapleton was an intelligent man and although he had previous criminal activites he had been to clever to get caught.after all no one would suspect him a naturalist whom lived with his sister on a deserted moor.
Critical Evaluation In the beginning of the book an air of excitement is generated with the 'legend of the hound of the baskervilles' told by Dr Mortimor and one is expecting a horrifying novel to unveil itself. Unfortunately, this does not happen.
The man whom supposedly is the main character in the novel 'Sherlock Holmes' only appears in the first three chapters and the last two.
It would seem more appropriate to call the book 'The Adventures of Dr Watson'.
It his he who is seen to be the main character when reading the book but this might be due to the fact that Conan Doyle is more able to relate to the Dr Watson character having himself also been a doctor.
The landscape and characters are described very well. It is quiet easy to picture the beauty of Berly Stapleton and desolation of the moors.
The continuos dialogue adds verbal faculties to the novel enabling the reader to follow the story better making it appear more like a play.
The story moves very fast and some of the characters are quickly passed by without much description.
The most disappointing part of the book is the end, the last chapter is ineptly rushed ,the so called hell hound is shot with a pistol within seconds of appearing on the scene and Sherlock Holmes 'The Great Detective allows the villain to escape.