At the outset of the story Dr. James Mortimer calls upon private consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and asks for advice in the wake of the death of his friend Sir Charles Baskerville of Devonshire.
Although foul play is not officially suspected Mortimer recounts the myth of the lecherous Hugo Baskerville. Hugo captured and imprisoned a young country lass at his estate in Devonshire, only to fall victim to a prowling hound of hell as he pursued her along the moors late one night. Ever since, Mortimer believes a mysterious and supernatural black hound has plagued the Baskerville line. The recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville has rekindled suspicions and fears.
Agreeing to take the case, Holmes and Watson quickly discover that Sir Henry Baskerville, heir to the estate, has received a note warning him to stay away from the moor delivered to his hotel where no one had known he would be staying. Holmes, busy finishing up a case in London sends Dr. Watson to Devonshire to be his eyes and ears, insisting that he report back regularly.
Once in Devonshire, Watson discovers a state of emergency, with armed guards on the watch for an escaped convict roaming the moors. He meets potential suspects in Mr. Barrymore and Mrs. Barrymore, the domestic help, and Mr. Jack Stapleton and his sister Beryl, Baskerville neighbours.
A series of mysteries arrive in rapid succession. It appears that time is running out before the killer will strike again. Can Holmes and Dr Watson uncover the secret at the heart of the Baskerville murder? Or are they contending with a curse and a killer from beyond this world?
Characters to Personalise
Sherlock Holmes -
The novel's protagonist. Holmes is the famous 221b Baker Street detective with trademark deerstalker hat and pipe. He has a reputation of being able to handle difficult cases and present, or at least lessen, danger with good reason. Although he takes a bit of a back seat to Watson in this story, we always feel his presence.
Dr Watson -
Watson is the narrator and the other leading character in the story. Dr Watson is Holmes’ sidekick and longtime chronicler of the detective’s adventures. However in this book he tries his hand at Holmes’ game trying to impress him by solving such a baffling case. As he, like most readers, is not a detective he is able to relate information as the average person would see it, making the novel much more suspenseful,
Sir Henry Baskerville -
The late Sir Charles’s nephew and closest living relative. Sir Henry is describes as “a small, alert, dark-eyed man about thirty years of age, very sturdily built.” He first appears in Chapter 2 and then features frequently during the book. By the end of the story, Henry is as worn out and shell-shocked as his late uncle was before his death.
Sir Charles Baskerville -
Sir Charles was the head of the Baskerville estate. He was superstitious and wary of the Baskerville curse. He was a supporter of the local area and his plans to invest in the neighbourhood make it vital that his nephew Sir Henry returns from Canada. Though never alive in the novel Sir Charles is referred to early on and regularly throughout.
Sir Hugo Baskerville -
A debaucherous and shadowy Baskerville ancestor. Sir Hugo’s actions led to the tale of the hound. He is mentioned several times early on in the book.
Mr Jack Stapleton -
Stapleton represents the corrupting influence of money and power. On one hand he is a serious entomologist, but on the other he uses what he gains from this to aid in his murders. Stapleton is essential to the plot and outcome of the story. It is his crime that initially intrigues Holmes, and his continued skill at executing it, that holds the detective’s interest.