The Hound of the Baskervilles: Wikis


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The Hound of the Baskervilles  
Cover of the 1st edition
Author Arthur Conan Doyle
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Sherlock Holmes
Genre(s) Detective fiction
Publisher George Newnes
Publication date 1902[1]
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 359
Preceded by The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Followed by The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a crime novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in the Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound.



Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this story shortly after returning from South Africa where he had worked as a volunteer physician at the Langman Field Hospital in Bloemfontein. He was assisted with the plot by a 30-year-old Daily Express journalist called Bertram Fletcher Robinson (1870-1907). His ideas came from the legend of Richard Cabell, who was the inspiration of the Baskerville legend. His tomb can be seen in the Devon town of Buckfastleigh.[2][3] Squire Richard Cabell lived during the 1600s and was the local squire at Buckfastleigh. He had a passion for hunting and was what in those days described as a 'monstrously evil man'. He gained this reputation for, amongst other things, immorality and having sold his soul to the Devil. There was also a rumour that he had murdered his wife. On the 5th of July 1677, he died and was laid to rest in 'the sepulchre,' but that was only the beginning of the story. The night of his interment saw a phantom pack of hounds come baying across the moor to howl at his tomb. From that night onwards, he could be found leading the phantom pack across the moor, usually on the anniversary of his death. If the pack were not out hunting, they could be found ranging around his grave howling and shrieking. In an attempt to lay the soul to rest, the villagers built a large building around the tomb, and to be doubly sure a huge slab was placed on top of the grave to stop the ghost of the squire escaping.[4]

Conan Doyle's description of Baskerville Hall was inspired by a visit to Cromer Hall in Norfolk. Some elements of the story were inspired by a stay at the Royal Links Hotel in West Runton, where Conan Doyle first heard the story of Black Shuck, the ghost dog from the Cromer area, which is said to run between Overstrand in the east and East Runton in the West.[2] It is authoritatively noted that Baskerville Hall as first seen by Watson closely resembles the view of Stonyhurst College from its driveway during its first century (founded 1794).[5]


Sherlock Holmes – Holmes is the famed 221b Baker Street detective with a keen eye, hawked nose, and the trademark hat and pipe. Holmes is observation and intuition personified, and though he takes a bit of a back seat to Watson in this story, we always feel his presence. It takes his legendary powers to decipher the mystifying threads of the case.

Dr. Watson - The novel's narrator. Dr. Watson gives assistance to Holmes and interested in the detective's adventures. In Hound, Watson tries his hand at Holmes' game, expressing his eagerness to please and impress the master by solving such a tough case

Sir Henry Baskerville - The late Sir Charles's nephew and closet living relative. Sir Henry is, described as "a small, alert, dark-eyed man about thirty years of age, very sturdily built." By the end of the story, Henry is as shocked as his late uncle was before his death.

Sir Charles Baskerville - The head of the Baskerville estate. Sir Charles was a superstitious man, and terrified of the Baskerville curse and his waning health at the time of his death. Sir Charles was also a well-known philanthropist, and his plans to invest in the regions surrounding his estate make it essential that Sir Henry move to Baskerville Hall to continue his uncle's good works.

Sir Hugo Baskerville - A Baskerville ancestor, Sir Hugo is the picture of aristocratic excess, drinking and pursuing pleasures of the flesh until the hound killed him.

Mortimer - Family friend and doctor to the Baskervilles. Mortimer is a tall, thin all-around nice guy and the executor of Charles's estate. Mortimer is also a phrenology enthusiast, and he wishes and hopes to someday have the opportunity to study Holmes' tricks..

Mr. Jack Stapleton - A thin and bookish-looking one-time schoolmaster, Stapleton chases butterflies and reveals his short temper only at key moments. A calm façade masks the scheming, manipulative villain that Holmes and Watson come to respect and fear.

Miss Stapleton - Allegedly Stapleton's sister, this dusky Latin beauty turns out to be his wife. Eager to prevent another death but terrified of her husband, she provides enigmatic warnings to Sir Henry and Watson.

Mr. John Barrymore and Mrs. Eliza Barrymore - The longtime domestic helpers of the Baskerville. Earnest and eager to please, the portly Mrs. Barrymore and her husband figure as a kind of support for the detectives, in association with their selden but ultimately no more suspicious than Sir Henry.

Laura Lyons - A local young woman, beautiful daughter of "Frankland the crank," the local litigator who disowned her when she married against his will. Subsequently abandoned by her husband, the credulous Laura turns to Mr. Stapleton and Charles for help.

Selden - A murderous villain, whose crimes are out of description. This convict is humanized by his with the Barrymores. He has a haggardly appearance. His only wish is to flee his persecutors and escape to South America.


Aune Mire, a typical Dartmoor bog

Course of Baskerville-A Flashback

Sir Charles was found dead in the yew valley due to heart attack. Fearing for the safety of Sir Charles’s nephew Sir Henry, who is coming to London from Canada, Dr. Edward Mortimer appeals for help to Sherlock Holmes. Mortimer reads to Holmes and Watson a description of the origin of the curse written by a descendant of Hugo Baskerville. The curse he believes, chases the Baskervilles for centuries, in revenge for the misdeeds of Sir Hugo Baskerville, who lived at a way earlier time. According to the legend, Hugo Baskerville, an evil man with a sadistic streak, became infatuated with a yeoman's daughter, kidnapped her and imprisoned her in his bedchamber. She managed to escape while he was talking with his friends. A drunken and furious Hugo cried that he would give his body and soul to the Powers of Evil if he could only overtake her. He rode after her onto the moor, his hunting hounds upon her scent and his friends in pursuit. Sometime later his friends came upon the bodies of Hugo and the girl. She had died from fear and fatigue, while a giant spectral hound stood over Sir Hugo's body. With his friends watching, the hound plucked out Hugo's throat and disappeared into the night

Present Day

Mortimer has deduced that Sir Charles had been waiting for someone at the time of his death. Sir Charles' face was contorted into a ghastly expression. His footprints suggested that he was desperately running from something. It was known that elderly Sir Charles' heart was not strong, and that he planned to go to London the next day. Mortimer also reveals that he observed the footprints "of a gigantic hound" near Sir Charles' body, a fact he did not reveal at the inquest into the death. Intrigued by the case, Holmes meets with Sir Henry, who has arrived from Canada. He is puzzled by an anonymous note delivered to his hotel room, warning him to avoid the moor. The note is composed of letters cut from a newspaper which Holmes recognizes as the previous day’s Times. Only the word "moor" is handwritten. The sputtering of the pen and the lack of ink suggest the note was written in an hotel. The fact that the letters were cut with small nail scissors suggests a woman, as does the scent of perfume. This last detail Holmes keeps to himself. When Holmes and Watson join Sir Henry at his hotel, they learn one of his new boots has gone missing. No good explanation can be found for the loss.

The ghostly black dog of British folklore.

Holmes asked if there were any other relatives besides Henry. Mortimer tells him that Charles had two brothers. Henry is the son of the elder Sir Henry who settled in Canada and raised him in both Canada and the USA. Another brother, Roger, was known to be the family black sheep. A wastrel and inveterate gambler,he "made England too hot to hold him" and left for South America to avoid creditors. He is believed to have died there alone.

Despite the note's warning, Sir Henry insists on visiting Baskerville Hall. As Sir Henry leaves Holmes' Baker Street apartment, Holmes and Dr Watson follow him and spy a man with a fake-looking black beard in a cab also following him. He escapes when chased but Holmes catches the cab number. Holmes then stops in at a messenger office and employs a young boy, Cartwright, to go around to the hotels and look through the wastepaper in search of a cut-up copy of the Times.

By the time they return to the hotel, Sir Henry has had another boot stolen, an old one now. When the first missing boot is discovered before the meeting is over, Holmes begins to realise they must be dealing with a real hound (hence the emphasis on the scent of the used boot). When conversation turns to the man in the cab, Mortimer says that Barrymore, the servant at Baskerville Hall, has a beard, and a telegram is sent to check on his whereabouts. The inheritance is also discussed – while it is a sizable amount, the next in line is James Desmond, an elderly clergyman with little interest in wealth.

At the end of the meeting, it is decided that, Holmes being tied up in London with other cases, Watson will accompany Sir Henry to the Hall and report back in detail. Later that evening, telegrams from Cartwright (who was unable to find the newspaper) and Baskerville Hall (where Barrymore apparently is) bring an end to those leads. Also, a visit from John Clayton, who was driving the cab with the black-bearded man, is of little help. He does say that the man told him that he was the detective Holmes, much to the surprise and amusement of the actual Holmes.

Watson takes charge

The Great Bittern

Mortimer, Watson, and Sir Henry set off for Baskerville Hall the following Saturday. The baronet is excited to see it and his connection with the land is clear, but the mood is soon dampened. Soldiers are about the area, on the lookout for the escaped convict Selden, who committed a vicious murder. Barrymore and his wife tell the baronet they wish to depart Baskerville Hall as soon as is convenient, and the Hall is, in general, a somber place. Watson has trouble sleeping that night, and hears a woman sobbing. The next morning Barrymore denies that it was his wife, who is one of only two women in the house. Watson sees Mrs. Barrymore later in the morning, however, and observes clear evidence that she has indeed been weeping.

Watson checks with the postmaster in Grimpen village and learns that the telegram was not actually delivered into the hands of Barrymore, so it is no longer certain that he was at the Hall, and not in London. On his way back, Watson meets Jack Stapleton, a naturalist familiar with the moor even though he has only been in the area for two years. They hear a moan that the peasants attribute to the hound, but Stapleton attributes it to the cry of a bittern, or possibly the bog settling. He then runs off after a specimen of the butterfly Cyclopedes, which was still found on Dartmoor until the 1860s. Watson is not alone for long before Beryl Stapleton, Jack's sister, approaches him. Mistaking him for Sir Henry, she urgently warns him to leave the area, but drops the subject when her brother returns. The three walk to Merripit House (the Stapletons’ home), and during the discussion, Watson learns that Stapleton used to run a school. Though he is offered lunch and a look at Stapleton’s collections, Watson departs for the Hall. Before he gets far along the path, Miss Stapleton overtakes him and retracts her warning. Watson notices that the brother and sister don't look very much alike.

Sir Henry soon meets Miss Stapleton and becomes romantically interested, despite her brother’s intrusions. Watson meets another neighbor, Mr. Frankland, a harmless eccentric whose primary pastime is initiating lawsuits. Barrymore draws increasing suspicion, as Watson sees him late at night walk with a candle into an empty room, hold it up to the window, and then leave. Realising that the room has a view out on the moor, Watson and Sir Henry determine to figure out what is going on.

Meanwhile, during the day, Sir Henry continues to pursue Beryl Stapleton until her brother runs up on them and yells angrily. He later explains to the disappointed baronet that it was not personal, he was just afraid of losing his only companion so quickly. To show there are no hard feelings, he invites Sir Henry to dine with him and his sister on Friday.

Photograph of prisoners at the Dartmoor Prison tied together carrying a cart out the gates, circa 1900.

Escaped convict

Sir Henry then becomes the person doing the surprising, when he and Watson walk in on Barrymore, catching him at night in the room with the candle. Barrymore refuses to answer their questions, since it is not his secret to tell, but Mrs. Barrymore’s. She tells them that the runaway convict Selden is her brother and the candle is a signal to him that food has been left for him. When the couple return to their room, Sir Henry and Watson go off to find the convict, despite the poor weather and frightening sound of the hound. They see Selden by another candle, but are unable to catch him. Watson notices the outlined figure of another man standing on top of a tor with the moon behind him, but he likewise gets away.

Barrymore is upset when he finds out that they tried to capture Selden, but when an agreement is reached to allow Selden to flee the country, he is willing to repay the favor. He tells them of finding a mostly burnt letter asking Sir Charles to be at the gate at the time of his death. It was signed with the initials L.L. Mortimer tells Watson the next day those initials could stand for Laura Lyons, Frankland’s daughter. She lives in Coombe Tracey. When Watson goes to talk to her, she admits to writing the letter in hopes that Sir Charles would be willing to help findance her divorce, but says she never kept the appointment.

Frankland has just won two law cases and invites Watson in, as his carriage passes by, to help him celebrate. Barrymore had previously told Watson that another man lived out on the moor besides Selden, and Frankland unwittingly confirms this, when he shows Watson through his telescope the figure of a boy carrying food. Watson departs the house and goes in that direction. He finds the prehistoric stone dwelling where the unknown man has been staying, goes in, sees a message reporting on his own activities. He waits, revolver at the ready, for the unknown man to return.

Holmes reappears

The unknown man proves to be Holmes. He has kept his location a secret so that Watson would not be tempted to come out and so he would be able to appear on the scene of action at the critical moment. Watson’s reports have been of much help to him, and he then tells his friend some of the information he’s uncovered – Stapleton is actually married to the woman passing as Miss Stapleton, and was also promising marriage to Laura Lyons to get her cooperation. As they bring their conversation to an end, they hear a ghastly scream.

One of Grimspound's hut circles where Holmes might have sought shelter

They run towards the sound and finding a body, they mistake it for Sir Henry. As their misery and regret grow, they realise it is actually the escaped convict Selden, the brother of Mrs Barrymore, dressed in the baronet’s old clothes (which had been given to Barrymore by way of further apology for distrusting him). Then Stapleton appears, and while he makes excuses for his presence, Holmes announces that he will return to London the next day, his investigations having produced no result.

Holmes and Watson return to Baskerville Hall where, over dinner, the detective stares at Hugo Baskerville's portrait. Calling Watson over after dinner he covers the hair to show the face, revealing its striking likeness to Stapleton. This provides the motive in the crime – with Sir Henry gone, Stapleton could lay claim to the Baskerville fortune, being clearly a Baskerville himself. When they return to Mrs. Lyons’s apartment, Holmes' questioning forcers her to admit Stapleton’s role in the letter that lured Sir Charles to his death. They go to the railroad station to meet Det. Inspector Lestrade, whom Holmes has called in by telegram.

Under the threat of advancing fog, Watson, Holmes, and Lestrade lie in wait outside Merripit House, where Sir Henry has been dining. When the baronet leaves and sets off across the moor, Stapleton looses the hound. It really is a terrible beast, but Holmes and Watson manage to shoot it before it can hurt Sir Henry seriously, as well as discovering that its hellish appearance was acquired by means of phosphorus. They discover the beaten Mrs. Stapleton bound and gagged in an upstairs room of Merripit House. When she is freed, she tells them of Stapleton’s hideout deep in the Great Grimpen Mire. They look for him next day, unsuccessfully, as he is dead, having lost his footing and being sucked down into the foul and bottomless depths of the mire. Holmes and Watson are only able to find and recover Sir Henry's boot used by Stapleton to give the hound Sir Henry's scent.


Some weeks later, Watson questions Holmes about the Baskerville case. Holmes reveals that Stapleton is the son of Roger Baskerville, Sir Charles' younger brother, and with the same name as his father. Although believed to have died unmarried, Roger Baskerville had married and had a son. The son John Roger Baskerville, after embezzling public money in Costa Rica, took the name Vandeleur and fled to England where he used the money to fund a Yorkshire school. Unfortunately for him, the tutor he had hired died of consumption, and after an epidemic killed three students the school failed. Now using the name Stapleton, Baskerville/Vandeleur fled with his wife to Dartmoor. He apparently supported himself by burglary, engaging in four large robberies and pistolling a page who surprised him.

Having learned the story of the hound, he resolved to kill off the remaining Baskervilles so that he could come into the inheritance as the last of the line. He had no interest in the estate and simply wanted the inheritance money. He purchased the hound and hid it in the mire at the site of an abandoned tin mine.

On the night of his death, Sir Charles had been waiting for Laura Lyons. The cigar ash at the scene ("the ash had twice dropped from his cigar") showed he had waited for some time. Instead he met the hound, that had been trained by Stapleton and covered with phosphorus to give it an unearthly appearance. Sir Charles ran for his life, but then had the fatal heart attack which killed him. Since dogs do not eat or bite dead bodies, it left him there untouched.

Stapleton followed Sir Henry in London, and also stole his new boot but later returned it, since it had not been worn and thus lacked Sir Henry's scent. Holmes speculated that the hotel bootblack had been bribed to steal an old boot of Henry's instead. The hound pursued Selden to his death in a fall because he was wearing Sir Henry's old clothes.

On the night the hound attacked Sir Henry, Stapleton's wife had refused to have any further part in Stapleton's plot, but her abusive husband beat and tied her to a pole to prevent her from warning him.

In Holmes' words: "..he [Stapleton] has for years been a desperate and dangerous man.." It was his consuming interest in entomology that allowed Holmes to identify him as the same man as Vandeleur, the former schoolmaster.

Film Adaptations

As of 2006, there are at least 24 film versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Some remain very close to the text of the original book, while others are notable for differences in plot or execution. Among these are some pastiches and one parody.

Year Title Country Director Holmes Watson
1914 Der Hund von Baskerville, 1. Teil German Empire Germany Rudolf Meinert Alwin Neu None
1914 Der Hund von Baskerville, 2. Teil — Das einsame Haus
1914 Der Hund von Baskerville, 3. Teil — Das unheimliche Zimmer Richard Oswald
1915 Der Hund von Baskerville, 4. Teil
1920 Das dunkle Schloß  Germany Willy Zeyn Eugen Burg Nil
1920 Das Haus ohne Fenster Erich Kaiser-Titz
1920 Dr. MacDonalds Sanatorium
1921 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Maurice Elvey Eille Norwood Hubert Willis
1929 Der Hund von Baskerville  Germany Richard Oswald Carlyle Blackwell George Seroff
1932 The Hound of the Baskervilles
(According to IMDB, the soundtrack has apparently been lost, but the film's visuals still exist)
 United Kingdom Gareth Gundrey Robert Rendel Frederick Lloyd
1936 Der Hund von Baskerville Nazi Germany Nazi Germany Carl Lamac Bruno Güttner Fritz Odemar
1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United States Sidney Lanfield Basil Rathbone Nigel Bruce
1955 Der Hund von Baskerville  Germany Fritz Umgelter Wolf Ackva Arnulf Schröder
1959 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Terence Fisher Peter Cushing André Morell
1962 Bees Saal Baad (After 20 years)  India Biren Nag - -
1968 The Hound of the Baskervilles
Part 1 + 2 (from the Sherlock Holmes 1965 TV Series)
 United Kingdom Graham Evans Peter Cushing Nigel Stock
1972 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United States Barry Crane Stewart Granger Bernard Fox
1978 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Paul Morrissey Peter Cook Dudley Moore
1981 The Hound of the Baskervilles (Собака Баскервилей)  Soviet Union Igor Maslennikov Vasilij Livanov Vitali Solomin
1982 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Peter Duguid Tom Baker Terence Rigby
1983 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Douglas Hickox Ian Richardson Donald Churchill
1983 Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse  Australia Ian McKenzie & Alex Nicholas Peter O'Toole (voice) Earle Cross (voice)
1988 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom Brian Mills Jeremy Brett Edward Hardwicke
1998 The Hound of the Baskervilles (BBC Radio Broadcasting)  United Kingdom Enyd Williams Clive Merrison Michael Williams
2000 The Hound of the Baskervilles  Canada Rodney Gibbons Matt Frewer Kenneth Welsh
2002 The Hound of the Baskervilles  United Kingdom David Attwood Richard Roxburgh Ian Hart

Related works

In Other Media

  • In the 1988 comedy film Short Circuit 2, Johnny 5 reads the book revealling that "the chauffeur did it".
  • In the 2004 series 6Teen episode "The Slow and Even Tempered" Jude says when Jen is reading a driver's manual "so the chauffeur probably did it".

See also


External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles is a crime novel set largely on Dartmoor 1889. At the time of researching the novel, Conan Doyle was a General Practitioner in Plymouth, and thus was able to explore the moor and accurately capture its mood and feel. In the novel, the detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson are called to investigate a curse which is alleged to be on the house of the Baskervilles.— Excerpted from The Hound of the Baskervilles on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1930, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Simple English

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a Sherlock Holmes novel. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle started writing it in 1901 and finished it in 1902. It was very popular, because fans had been waiting a long time for a new Sherlock Holmes story. This was because Conan Doyle had killed off Sherlock Holmes in the story The Final Problem. This was published in 1893.

The book tells the story of how Holmes and his friend Doctor Watson solve the mystery of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. In the story, people think that he died because of a family curse, to do with an evil dog. In the end, the dog is revealed to be a trained big dog painted with glow-in-the-dark paint to make it seem evil.

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