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“The Hound of the Baskervilles” is a detective novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first published in 1902. It features one of the most iconic literary detectives, Sherlock Holmes, and his loyal friend and chronicler, Dr. John Watson. The novel is set in the moorlands of Devon, England, and revolves around the mysterious curse of the Baskerville family and a deadly supernatural hound.


Sherlock Holmes: A brilliant and eccentric consulting detective known for his exceptional powers of deduction and observation. He takes on the case of the Baskerville family curse.

Dr. John Watson: Holmes’ loyal friend and the narrator of the story. He assists Holmes in the investigation and provides the reader with insight into the events.

Sir Henry Baskerville: The last surviving heir of the Baskerville family. He inherits the Baskerville Hall and estate and becomes the target of the supposed family curse.

Dr. James Mortimer: A friend of Sir Charles Baskerville and a local physician. He brings the case to Holmes’ attention and aids in the investigation.

Jack Stapleton: A naturalist and neighbor of the Baskervilles. He is seemingly helpful and knowledgeable but hides a sinister secret.

Beryl Stapleton: Jack Stapleton’s sister. She befriends Sir Henry Baskerville and plays a significant role in the unfolding mystery.

Sir Charles Baskerville: The uncle of Sir Henry and the previous owner of Baskerville Hall. He is found dead under mysterious circumstances, apparently frightened to death by the legendary hound.

Barrymore: The butler at Baskerville Hall. He and his wife are longtime servants of the Baskerville family and hold some secrets related to the case.

Mrs. Barrymore: The housekeeper at Baskerville Hall and the wife of Barrymore. She is connected to some of the mysterious occurrences.


The novel opens with Dr. John Watson recounting a visit from Dr. James Mortimer, who brings to Holmes’ attention the legend of the Baskerville family curse. According to the legend, a ghostly hound haunts the family, and it is believed to be the cause of the premature deaths of several Baskerville heirs. Dr. Mortimer seeks Holmes’ help in protecting the last heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, who has recently inherited the family estate.

Holmes advises Watson to accompany Sir Henry to Baskerville Hall in Devon and report back on any significant events. Once in Devon, Watson discovers a moody and eerie landscape, and he meets the locals, including the Stapletons, who live nearby. Strange events occur, including the theft of a boot and the sighting of an ominous figure on the moor.

Holmes, while remaining in London, investigates the case by sending Watson updates and requesting information. Holmes deduces that the hound might be a product of human design rather than a supernatural entity. He eventually arrives in Devon and reveals that Jack Stapleton is not a true Baskerville but an imposter who seeks the Baskerville wealth.

The climax of the novel takes place on the moor as Holmes and Watson confront Stapleton and reveal his identity. A confrontation with the hound ensues, and it is revealed that the “hound” is actually a trained dog covered in phosphorescent paint. Stapleton dies in the moor, and the threat to Sir Henry is eliminated.

The story concludes with Holmes explaining the details of the case and the motivations behind Stapleton’s actions. The legend of the supernatural hound is debunked, and the curse is revealed to be a carefully orchestrated plot. The Baskerville estate is returned to its rightful heir, and Holmes and Watson return to London, their investigation successfully concluded.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles was published in 1992. The novel pertains to the mystery genre. The novel shows a case where the death of Charles Baskerville unfolds mysterious events. The life of Sir Henry, the heir to the Baskerville Hall, is in danger since the moor is haunted by a legendary hound. Here, some incidents from the novel have been depicted.


The story starts with a curtain raised and we see Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville, talking to each other. Sherlock Holmes finds the warning letter strange and asks Watson, if he finds it real . Sir Henry tells them that he received the manuscript from his late uncle’s close friend, Dr. John Mortimer. According to the curse mentioned in the manuscript said that «all the male descendants to Baskerville household will die on the moor». The letter Sir Henry receives says that he should never return to Baskerville Hall. 

Now, Holmes concludes the three facts — 

# A boot has been stolen from Henry’s hotel. 

# He has been followed since his arrival in London, 

# The two letters, one informing about the demise of his late uncle and second the albeit more ominous letter warning to keep away from Baskerville Hall.

When Watson examines the letter carefully, he could easily make out that the words of the letter are cut from the London Times & pasted onto the letter. Holmes sniffs the letter and finds that it’s still fresh and the author of the note is in London right now.

Now, Sir Henry informs Holmes that he was followed by two men ,one a silly fellow with beard in a plaid suit. He works very hard not to be seen, but a bit of an idiot and he could see him constantly. Mortimer enters and introduces himself as the one who was entrusted for sending the manuscript to Sir Henry. Holmes suspects him and asks for his cane and hat to examine. Also asks if he has a dog, to which Mortimer tells that he has a setter (large dog with long hair). Mortimer informs Sir Henry that they had found sinister ( dangerous) footprints near his uncle’s body. He also tells Henry that it was his duty to inform him about this curse. Holmes also agrees to accompany Henry to the hall. Holmes warns Henry to stay away from Dr. Mortimer. And tells him that it is his duty to suspect everyone and alarms him again.

When Holmes and Watson are alone Holmes discusses that Dr. Mortimer looks younger than his age and seems he has put make-up. He concludes that he was not the actual Dr. Mortimer. There was another proof to prove it-The cane he had examined. He saw bite marks in the middle, which means he must have a smaller dog, like a spaniel that gripped the stick tightly in the centre for balance and the bite marks were also small .They could not have belonged to a large dog like setter. Hence he was lying.

Cartwright returns and informs Holmes that there were two men waiting in the street. He also tells that there was a woman, whom the other man joined in a cab. Now, Holmes orders Cartwright to find out the area where the taxi no 4565 picked up its passengers and search the areas for middle-class hotels. Also to inspect the waste paper baskets of every room occupied by a couple to search for the morning edition of The London Times. He was looking for the holes cut into them ,which were pasted in the manuscript. Watson is amazed to see that how Holmes could deduce (conclude) all of that from a walking stick. To this Holmes remarks that it is not the stick but the traces of a woman’s perfume. Now he is sure that he will find their names in the hotel’s register.

Now, enters a new character Lestrade, the policeman looking for Sir Henry as according to him, it is his moral duty to take care of the members of nobility. Later, he asks Holmes to handover the investigation details to him, Holmes cheerfully gives him all the details of the crime. He informs Lestrade that Sir Henry has also lost his boot in the hotel. To this Lestrade says that it means a crime is a foot. He praises himself & his way of investigation. He makes sure that now the case is in the best hands of Scotland Yard.

Later, Holmes orders Watson to pack his bags for Dartmoor. He tells him that he is going with Mortimer and Sir Henry. He asks Watson to be his eyes and ears and keep informing him through letters of anything suspicious and strange. Watson makes fun of Holmes and says if Holmes is scared for Sir Henry or does he believe in Baskerville prophecy. To this Holmes says that he is not scared as he is sending Watson to prevent Henry’s death.


  • Hounds — Dogs
  • Albeit — Although
  • Ominous — Suggesting that something bad is going to happen
  • Entrusted — Assigned
  • Cane — Walking stick
  • Setter — A large dog with long hair
  • Sinister — Dangerous
  • Amends — To compensate
  • Piqued — Provoked
  • Disguise — Unrecognisable
  • Deduced — Concluded
  • Traces — Remaining
  • Nobility — High social position
  • Deduction — Find the answer to a problem


Q. Who was Sir Henry Baskerville? Why has he sought the services of Sherlock Holmes?

Q. How many letters has Sir Henry Baskerville received? What is written in them?

Q. How does Sherlock Holmes deduce that the person who has visited them is not the actual Dr. Mortimer?

Q. What is Sherlock Holmes plan of action?

Q. Reference to Context


“ When I said everything, I meant the facts. I’m sure you’ll agree that curses and other superstitions don’t count as facts.”

a. Who is the speaker? Who is he speaking to?

b. Which fact is the speaker talking about?

c. Which curse is being discussed here?


“ It’s strange that John Mortimer would issue such a warning.”

a. Who is John Mortimer?

b. What warning has John Mortimer issued?

c. Why does the speaker find the warning strange?


“ Mr. Holmes, the best of Scotland Yard is on it! ”

a. Who is the speaker?

b. What is the best of Scotland Yard on?


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The Plot

In “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the perplexing tale commences with the death of Sir Charles Baskerville, rumored to have been claimed by a phantom hound on the grounds of Baskerville Hall.

Dr. James Mortimer enlists Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson’s aid to unravel the sinister circumstances.

The focus shifts to Sir Henry Baskerville, the sole heir, as he inherits the family estate and becomes embroiled in the ominous legend.

Amidst the eerie moors and the ancestral mansion, Holmes and Watson untangle a web of deceit, discovering that reality is far more treacherous than myth.


From the astute and methodical Sherlock Holmes to the enigmatic and tormented Sir Henry Baskerville, each character plays a crucial role in unraveling the chilling mystery that shrouds Baskerville Hall.

In this section, we provide a summary of these characters.

Sherlock Holmes

The brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes employs his keen intellect and astute observation to tackle the enigmatic case of the Baskervilles, unveiling hidden truths beneath the surface.

Dr. John Watson

As the steadfast companion of Holmes, Dr. Watson narrates the tale, navigating the eerie moors and unraveling the dark secrets surrounding the Baskerville family.

Sir Charles Baskerville

The late owner of Baskerville Hall, Sir Charles Baskerville’s mysterious death sets the stage for the haunting events that follow.

Sir Henry Baskerville

The new heir to the Baskerville estate, Sir Henry’s arrival introduces an element of uncertainty as he grapples with the sinister legend that shrouds his family.

Dr. James Mortimer

A friend of the Baskervilles and a man of science, Dr. Mortimer seeks Holmes’ expertise to uncover the truth behind Sir Charles’s death.

Laura Lyons

A woman entangled in the web of the Baskerville mystery, Laura Lyons’s connection to the case remains shrouded in ambiguity.

Jack Stapleton

An enigmatic figure living near the moors, Stapleton’s presence raises suspicion as his motives and past are brought into question.

Rodger Baskerville

The ancestor who initiated the Baskerville curse, Rodger’s tale adds a historical layer to the unfolding events.

Beryl Stapleton

Mysterious and alluring, Beryl’s role in the narrative becomes intertwined with the unraveling secrets of the Baskerville family.

Hugo Baskerville

The originator of the hound legend, Hugo’s dark deeds cast a long shadow over his descendants.


The butler at Baskerville Hall, Barrymore’s loyalty to the family is evident, yet he holds secrets that contribute to the suspenseful atmosphere.

Mrs. Barrymore

Wife of Barrymore, Mrs. Barrymore’s anxious demeanor hints at her own involvement in the mysteries of the estate.

Key Themes

Amidst the mist-laden moors and dark corridors of Baskerville Hall, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” explores mutiple themes, including superstition, fear and mystery, and ancestral legacy, amongst others.

Below, we provide a summary of the multiple themes found in this story.

Superstition and Rationalism

The clash between superstition and rationalism is evident throughout the novel.

The legend of the spectral hound that haunts the Baskerville family is rooted in local folklore and superstition.

Sherlock Holmes, embodying rationalism, seeks to unravel the mystery behind the legend by applying logical deduction and scientific methods.

Fear and Mystery

The theme of fear is palpable, with the legend of the hound instilling terror in the characters and the reader alike.

The novel builds an atmosphere of mystery and suspense as characters grapple with the fear of the unknown, the supernatural, and the dangers of the desolate moorland.

Inheritance and Legacy

The curse that supposedly plagues the Baskerville family serves as a symbol of the weight of inheritance and legacy.

The burden of the past, whether in terms of wealth, reputation, or responsibilities, influences the characters’ decisions and actions.

Class and Social Divisions

The novel portrays the social divisions and hierarchies of early 20th-century England.

The Baskervilles, representing the aristocracy, and the local inhabitants, including the Stapletons, who depend on their patronage, highlight the contrasts between different social classes.

Deception and Secrecy

Deception and secrecy are recurring motifs as characters hide their true intentions or identities. The mystery’s resolution involves uncovering hidden motives and untangling the web of lies.

Genres in The Hound of the Baskervilles

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” seamlessly blends the elements of detective fiction and Gothic mystery.

As Sherlock Holmes employs his analytical prowess to solve the perplexing case, the story takes on the characteristics of a detective narrative.

Simultaneously, the eerie atmosphere, ancient legends, and haunted landscapes align with the conventions of Gothic fiction, heightening the suspense and creating an engaging amalgamation of genres.

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle incorporates elements of both detective fiction and Gothic mystery, blending these genres to create a captivating and atmospheric narrative.

Detective Fiction

The novel is a quintessential example of detective fiction, with Sherlock Holmes at the forefront of solving the enigmatic case.

Key characteristics of this genre include:

  • Investigation and Deduction: Sherlock Holmes employs his renowned powers of deduction and observation to solve the mystery surrounding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. He meticulously pieces together evidence, scrutinizes details, and forms logical conclusions.
  • Logic and Reasoning: Holmes’s approach is grounded in logical reasoning and scientific methods. He emphasizes the importance of evidence and is skeptical of supernatural explanations, reflecting the analytical nature of detective fiction.
  • Unveiling the Truth: The narrative is structured around the gradual revelation of clues, red herrings, and the eventual unveiling of the truth behind the mysterious occurrences. Holmes’s detective work leads to the resolution of the case.

Gothic Mystery

The novel also incorporates elements of Gothic mystery, drawing on the eerie and atmospheric qualities of this genre:

  • Atmosphere of Suspense: The setting of the Baskerville Hall on the fog-shrouded moorland contributes to an eerie and suspenseful atmosphere. The supernatural legend of the hound adds a sense of dread and mystery.
  • Mysterious and Haunting Elements: The spectral hound serves as a Gothic motif, embodying the mystery and terror often associated with the genre. The theme of ancestral curses and family secrets adds layers of intrigue.
  • Isolated and Foreboding Settings: The isolation of the moorland and the eerie landscapes of Grimpen Mire and the Great Grimpen Mire contribute to the Gothic ambiance. These settings mirror the traditional isolated and sinister environments of Gothic fiction.
  • Emotional Intensity: The emotional turmoil experienced by characters, such as Sir Henry Baskerville and Laura Lyons, adds depth to the narrative and aligns with the emotional intensity characteristic of Gothic literature.

The blend of detective fiction and Gothic mystery genres enhances the complexity of the narrative.

Sherlock Holmes’s deductive prowess and the suspenseful, haunting atmosphere of the moorland and Baskerville Hall merge to create a story that engages readers with its intricate mystery while evoking a sense of tension, unease, and intrigue.

Language used in The Hound of the Baskervilles

Arthur Conan Doyle masterfully wields language to evoke the ominous atmosphere of the moors and the tension surrounding the Baskerville legend.

Through Dr. John Watson’s narrative voice, readers are immersed in the emotions of fear and curiosity.

Holmes’ inquiries and conversations with Watson, such as when he asks Watson about his observations or reveals his deductions, deepen the connection between characters and readers, intensifying the story’s impact.

Literary devices in The Hound of the Baskervilles

In the book, Arthur Conan Doyle employs a myriad of literary devices to craft an immersive narrative.

Through the dynamic between Holmes and Doctor John Watson, Doyle employs dialogue not only for plot progression but also to reveal character traits.

The use of foreshadowing, like when they lure Sir Charles Baskerville, heightens the sense of anticipation and foreboding.

The description of Sir Henry’s clothes subtly conveys information about his character and circumstances, enriching the storytelling.


When Holmes tells Sir Henry about the hound’s legend, he likens it to “the devil hound,” immediately conjuring an image of terror and malevolence.

Holmes’ comparison enhances the eerie aura, making the supernatural aspect more palpable and engaging the reader’s imagination.


Conan Doyle’s use of metaphors infuses depth into “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

When Holmes asks Watson to be vigilant, comparing Watson to a faithful watchdog, it encapsulates Watson’s role in safeguarding Sir Henry.

As Sir Henry arrives and walks home, his journey becomes a metaphor for his confrontation with his family’s legacy, echoing his transition from outsider to inheritor, and symbolizing his eventual acceptance of the truth.


The book employs analogies to illuminate intricate concepts. As Sir Henry walks home, his journey parallels his psychological expedition into the depths of his family’s history.

Watson’s encounters are akin to the unraveling of the threads of the Baskerville mystery, each interaction slowly exposing the layers of intrigue that have shaped Sir Henry’s life.


From the haunting image of Sir Charles’ death on the moor to the scent of Sir Henry lingering in the hallways, readers are immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the story.

These sensory details enrich the narrative, making the settings and characters more tangible and evoking a deeper emotional connection.


People and figures that Watson encounters serve as symbolic intersections with the overarching mystery, representing the unfolding layers of the plot.

The “Baskerville fortune” acts as a symbol of the family’s legacy, carrying both material wealth and the weight of their ancestral past.

Sir Henry’s scent embodies a trace of identity, signifying his presence and connection to the estate.

As Sir Henry leaves, his departure symbolizes his transition, marked by growth and the journey towards self-discovery.


Instances of personification in the book lend life-like qualities to inanimate objects and natural elements. Just as Holmes shoots sharp glances that pierce through mysteries, the descriptive prose personifies the characters’ actions.

Watson’s keen observation is reflected when he notices minute details, making the narrative vivid. Watson’s learning journey symbolizes growth as he learns about the Baskerville legacy, while the eerie howling wind becomes a character in itself, heard only by him.


Hyperbole in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” heightens suspense and emotions.

As Holmes remarks, his astute observations may be amplified to emphasize his analytical brilliance.

When Holmes reveals secrets, the revelations may be exaggerated to magnify their impact.

Hyperbolic descriptions of the moor and Stapleton’s house intensify their ominous nature, evoking a sense of dread.

The exaggerated traits of Barrymore’s brother add layers to his mysterious character, enhancing the intrigue.


Various forms of irony interplay to deepen the narrative. Watson notices the contrast between the serene moors and the ominous atmosphere they conceal, creating situational irony.

As Watson learns about Sir Charles’s will, the dichotomy between his intentions and the perceived curse adds dramatic irony.

The subdued sounds of Baskerville Hall juxtaposed with the echo of the howling hound constitute auditory irony, highlighting the mysterious tension.


As Watson begins his exploration, the serene countryside is sharply contrasted with the impending suspense. Watson reports the eerie legends amid the tranquility of the moors, creating an unsettling dichotomy.

Holmes’ deductive prowess is showcased as he investigates the inexplicable, illuminating the disparity between logic and the supernatural.

The juxtaposition of the escaped convict’s tales of adventure in South America adds a paradoxical layer to the otherwise gothic setting.


Doyle employs paradoxes to engage readers. Holmes’ uncanny ability to unravel mysteries often seems paradoxically supernatural for a country doctor.

As Holmes predicts the outcome with precision, the uncertainty paradoxically reinforces his reputation.

The young man’s decision to leave Baskerville Hall for safety becomes a paradox as it swaps presumed sanctuaries. These paradoxes spark reflection on the unforeseen twists within a seemingly straightforward narrative.


Allusions enrich the narrative. When Stapleton arrives, his character echoes the uncanny atmosphere of the moors, reminiscent of the eerie bearded man in the tale.

Holmes’ agreement with Stapleton forms a parallel with his recognition of the lurking dangers, much like the hidden peril of the vicious hound.

The reference to the brown boots hints at deeper secrets, akin to the mysteries they conceal.


While not overtly allegorical, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” contains elements that can symbolize broader themes. The gigantic hound symbolizes primal fears and ancestral curses, embodying the family’s dark legacy.

The bearded man embodies the sinister elements of human nature lurking beneath the surface. Watson’s encounter (when Watson sees a mysterious figure standing alone up in the hills) with the bearded figure mirrors his journey to uncover hidden truths.

As the walking stick aids Sir Henry’s journey, it also reflects his quest for self-discovery, much like the ordeal of facing the hellish hound.

The Use of Dialogue

In “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” dialogue serves as a potent tool for character development and thematic exploration.

As Watson investigates, his conversations unveil his curiosity and determination, highlighting his role as a diligent investigator.

When Holmes ties together seemingly unrelated clues through dialogue, his deductive prowess is vividly showcased.

The interactions with the escaped convict reflect themes of justice and society’s impact on individuals. Holmes’ dialogues also reveal his brilliant deductions, showcasing his analytical mind.


Parallelism subtly shapes the structure of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” enhancing its impact.

As Watson hears the echoes of the hound’s howl across the moors, it mirrors the recurring themes of ancestral legacy and fate.

The repeated encounters with the young man and the mysterious sounds evoke a sense of parallel experiences, intertwining the lives of various characters.

This literary device underscores the interconnectedness of events and characters, amplifying the story’s depth.

Rhetorical Devices

Watson’s contemplative thoughts in the bustling city of London employ rhetorical questions, engaging readers in his introspection.

Both Watson and Holmes employ parallelism when describing observations, adding rhythmic impact.

By utilizing these devices, Doyle elevates the narrative’s persuasion, coaxing readers to delve deeper into the enigmatic tale.

The Hound of the Baskervilles: FAQs

Delve into these frequently asked questions to unravel the enigma surrounding Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective novel.

What is The Hound of the Baskervilles about summary?

“The Hound of the Baskervilles” follows detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they investigate the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville. The family’s history is marred by a legend of a supernatural hound that brings death to its heirs. Holmes unravels the case, revealing a web of deception involving greed and revenge. The story explores the tension between rationality and superstition.

What is the main point of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

The main point of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the resolution of a perplexing mystery surrounding the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. As Sherlock Holmes uses logic and deduction to untangle the clues, the narrative examines themes of fear, superstition, and the power of scientific inquiry in dispelling myths.

What happens at the end of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

At the end of the novel, Sherlock Holmes reveals that the hound responsible for the deaths is not supernatural but rather a trained animal used by Stapleton to eliminate potential heirs to the Baskerville fortune. The truth behind the legend is unveiled, and the criminal is apprehended, restoring safety to the Baskerville family.

What is the moral lesson of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

The moral lesson of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” lies in the conflict between reason and superstition. The novel emphasizes the importance of using logic and evidence-based investigation to debunk myths and solve mysteries. It highlights how fear and irrational beliefs can lead to misguided actions and manipulations.

What makes the moor setting significant in the story?

The eerie moors serve as a powerful backdrop, adding an atmospheric and mysterious layer to the narrative, reflecting the supernatural themes of the tale.

Are there supernatural elements in the story?

While the plot revolves around a legendary hound, the novel ultimately offers rational explanations for seemingly supernatural occurrences, aligning with Holmes’ logical approach.

How does the relationship between Holmes and Watson contribute to the story?

Holmes and Watson’s partnership embodies the essence of deduction and camaraderie. Their dynamic allows readers to experience the case through Watson’s eyes while marveling at Holmes’ analytical prowess.

Are there adaptations of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in other media?

Yes, the novel has been adapted into various films, TV series, and stage productions, showcasing its enduring appeal and cultural impact over the years.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles Summary

This adventure concerns the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, and the possibility that the heir to his fortune might be the object of murder. Before the novel begins, Sir Charles Baskerville had died suddenly, perhaps the victim of a ghostly hound believed to haunt his family because of an age-old curse. The Baskerville estate is located out in the remote moor of Devonshire.

Holmes and Watson are introduced to the case by Dr. Mortimer, a friend of Sir Charles Baskerville. Mortimer believes that a hound has in fact killed Sir Charles, because he found a paw print near Sir Charles’s corpse. He is worried that there may be some truth to the superstitious legend, which is detailed in an old manuscript, and thus approaches Holmes in hopes that the detective can protect Sir Henry, who is soon to arrive to claim the family estate and fortune.

When Sir Henry arrives in London, he exhibits no fear of the old legend. Instead, he insists on leaving soon for Baskerville Hall. However, several strange things happen while he is in London: an anonymous letter arrives, warning him to stay away from the moor; two boots are stolen from his hotel, each from a different pair; and Holmes observes a bearded man following him around the city. Certain that something insidious is afoot, Holmes sends Watson to Devonshire, where he is to accompany and protect Sir Henry while Holmes wraps up some business in London.

Upon his arrival in Baskerville Hall, Watson begins his detective work. He discovers several mysterious circumstances. There is an escaped convict, Selden, wandering the moor. Barrymore, the butler, frequently awakes in the middle of the night and shines a light from an empty room in the house. Mrs. Barrymore is constantly in tears.

Watson also meets the Stapletons, a brother and sister who are friendly neighbors of the Baskerville estate. However, Miss Stapleton is clearly anxious, since she secretly warns Watson to leave the moor immediately, before learning he is not actually Sir Henry.

Watson learns from Mr. Stapleton about the existence of Grimpen Mire, a part of the moor which is too dangerous to pass. On several occasions, he hears the frightening howl of a hound coming from this area of the moor.

One night, Watson and Sir Henry follow Barrymore, and discover that he and his wife are secretly feeding Selden, who is actually Mrs. Barrymore’s brother. Watson and Sir Henry try to capture Selden, but fail. However, that night, Watson sees a mysterious figure standing alone up in the hills.

The next morning, the men promise Barrymore not to report Selden, and he in turn tells them how his wife found a letter that was sent to Sir Charles on the day he died. Apparently, the man was outside that night to meet a woman with the initials L.L. Watson investigates to discover that this woman is Laura Lyons, who lives in the nearby Coombe Tracey. He visits her to learn that Sir Charles was going to give her money to secure a divorce, but that she did not keep her appointment that night because someone else offered her the money.

Watson then tries to track down the mysterious man on the moor, and discovers that it is actually Sherlock Holmes, who has been living secretly on the moor to observe the mystery from a distance. He explains that his open presence would have compromised his investigation. While there, Holmes has learned that Mr. Stapleton is in fact married to Miss Stapleton; they are not brother and sister, but have instead assumed fake identities. He believes Stapleton is responsible for Sir Charles’s death, but he does not have the proof yet.

Suddenly, Watson and Holmes hear the same cry Watson heard earlier, and they rush to find a corpse out on the moor. Though they initially believe it is Sir Henry’s body — since the figure is dressed in the man’s clothes — they soon discover it is actually Selden’s corpse. He had clearly been fleeing something, and had fallen from a cliff in the process. As they debate what to do with the body, Stapleton arrives. Though surprised, he quickly recovers his composure and easily identifies Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes accompanies Watson to Baskerville Hall, and has dinner with Sir Henry. During dinner, they learn that Stapleton had invited Sir Henry to dinner, and hence had been expecting him, not Selden, to be out on the moor that night. Selden was dressed in Sir Henry’s clothes because Barrymore had given them to the convict.

Holmes notices a portrait of Hugo Baskerville, and secretly indicates to Watson that the face bears a striking similarity to Stapleton’s. He thereby realizes that Stapleton must be a Baskerville, who hopes to kill off the surviving family members so that he will inherit the fortune.

However, Holmes does not tell Sir Henry the truth. Instead, he claims that he and Watson are returning to London, and instructs Sir Henry to join Stapleton for dinner the following night. Though it requires him walking alone across the moor, Sir Henry agrees.

That night, Holmes, Watson, and the London policeman Lestrade — who joined Holmes via train — stake out Stapleton’s house. Watson sneaks close to spy Stapleton dining alone with Sir Henry; Miss Stapleton is absent. A fog compromises visibility, so the party has to retreat a bit. It is from this vantage that they soon see Sir Henry stroll past, and then a savage hound, flames seemingly leaping from its mouth, fly after the man. They are able to kill it only with several shots, right before it is prepared to rip out Sir Henry’s throat.

Holmes studies the hound’s corpse to discover that its mouth has been lined with phosphorus, thereby creating the image of flames, and its fur covered with a glitter. They try to pursue Stapleton, but only find Miss Stapleton, who has been tied up, gagged, and locked away in the house. She tells them that Stapleton had restrained her, and likely fled out into Grimpen Mire, which is where he kept the hound locked away.

The next morning, they search Grimpen Mire, but find only Stapleton’s boot. They assume he has died. They also find evidence of where he kept the hound, and that Stapleton had been feeding the beast with other animals.

A month later, Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer embark on a trip around the world, so that Sir Henry can recover from his shock. One day, Watson questions Holmes about the case, and the detective provides all the missing pieces. Stapleton’s actual name was Rodger Baskerville; he is the son of Sir Charles’s youngest brother, who had long before moved to South America. After his father’s death, Stapleton fled to England, changed his identity, and set out to construct a means to claim the Baskerville fortune. His wife had eventually tried to stop him, which is why he locked her away.

The details provided, Holmes invites Watson to join him for dinner and a show.


The Hound of the Baskervilles is a Sherlock Holmes novel written by his creator, the British author and physician Arthur Conan Doyle, and published in 1902. The book presents the eerie tale of terrifying deaths at a country estate beset by a ferocious giant dog, and Holmes’s ingenious proof that the legend of a canine monster is merely a pretext for murder.

Arguably history’s most storied detective, Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed on film, TV, and stage more than any other fictional person. The Holmes character, now in the public domain, appears in thousands of works of fiction, but the original series of 56 stories and four novels by Conan Doyle are touchstones for fans. First published in 1901 as a serial in The Strand magazine, The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third and most famous, of the original novels. It has been adapted dozens of times into feature films and stage productions.

The 2017 AmazonClassics ebook edition forms the basis for this study guide.

Sherlock Holmes and his best friend and assistant Dr. John Watson receive a tall, angular surgeon named James Mortimer who tells them a harrowing tale of a great hound that haunts the moors of Devonshire and sometimes kills the heirs of Baskerville Manor. The latest victim is Sir Charles Baskerville, who recently had heart trouble and was worried about family stories of the hound. One night, he is found dead on his estate’s pathway alongside the moor, his face locked in a rictus of terror.

Sir Charles’s nephew, Sir Henry Baskerville, arrives in London from Canada on his way to claim the estate. At his hotel, he receives a note warning him to stay away from Baskerville Hall; also, his boots begin to disappear, though one later reappears. Holmes discovers that Sir Henry is being followed. Watson and Holmes glimpse a bearded man in a carriage who hurries away, and they lose track of him.

Watson travels with Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer to Baskerville Hall. The mansion is a gloomy place, and the surrounding moorland is equally eerie. Watson encounters Stapleton, a naturalist who lives in a house on the moor with his beautiful sister Beryl, who warns Watson that Sir Henry must leave at once or risk being killed.

Sir Henry meets Beryl and grows fond of her. They walk and talk, and he suggests marriage, but she rejects it. Stapleton interrupts them and, in a rage, accuses Sir Henry of bad intentions. Stapleton later apologizes.

Barrymore, the butler, has a stern wife who sobs late at night. Watson and Sir Henry catch Barrymore waving a candle at a window while an answering light glimmers on the moor. He is signaling to Selden, an escaped murderer who happens to be Mrs. Barrymore’s brother; the Barrymores are secretly sending him food. Sir Henry and Watson search for Selden, but he escapes them.

Barrymore convinces Sir Henry to give Selden time to leave the country. In gratitude, the butler tells of a letter to Sir Charles that Mrs. Barrymore found, partially burnt, in the late baronet’s fireplace. It is from a woman with the initials LL who told Sir Charles to meet her on the night he died. Watson learns that LL is Laura Lyons, daughter of Mr. Frankland, a litigious resident of a nearby village. Watson interviews Lyons and learns that she planned to beg Sir Charles for money to initiate a divorce against her estranged, cruel husband, but that same day another party paid the costs, and she didn’t go to her meeting with Sir Charles.

Watson notices another person standing on a moorland hilltop, and he hikes up to find out who it is. It is Holmes, who’s been keeping tabs on events from an ancient stone hut near the summit.

Holmes visits Baskerville Hall, where he recognizes, among the ancestral portraits on its walls, a strong resemblance between Hugo Baskerville, the first family member to be killed by a giant hound, and Stapleton. Having now solved the mystery, Holmes tells Sir Henry to accept Stapleton’s dinner invitation and then to return along a particular path so that Holmes can keep him safe.

After the dinner, as Sir Henry walks home, a huge dog with glowing eyes and muzzle attacks him, but Holmes shoots it before it can kill. The dog’s glow comes from phosphorus paint meant to give the animal a terrifying, unearthly appearance. Stapleton, revealed to be the dog’s owner, escapes into the moor but falls into a boggy mire and is never found.

Holmes learns that Stapleton is actually Rodger Baskerville, the son of Sir Charles’s criminal-minded brother. Rodger’s purpose was to remove all other claimants to the baronetcy and then take it for himself. Using a false promise of marriage and an offer of cash, Rodger tricked Laura Lyons into helping him lure Sir Charles outside, where the hound frightened him to death.

Beryl is Rodger’s wife, but he forced her to pose as his sister to lure Sir Henry to visit, which put the baronet on the moor where the huge dog might kill him. Holmes foils the plot, Sir Henry is saved, and the legend of the hound of the Baskervilles finally is laid to rest.

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