Narrator: Ralph Cosham
Series: Sherlock Holmes
Published by Sound Room Publishers on January 25, 2005 (first published 1902)
Genres: Mystery, Classic
Length: 5 hrs 20 mins
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The rich landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the park of his manor surrounded by the grim moor of Dartmoor, in the county of Devon. His death seems to have been caused by a heart attack, but the victim's best friend, Dr. Mortimer, is convinced that the strike was due to a supernatural creature, which haunts the moor in the shape of an enormous hound, with blazing eyes and jaws. In order to protect Baskerville's heir, Sir Henry, who's arriving to London from Canada, Dr. Mortimer asks for Sherlock Holmes' help, telling him also of the so-called Baskervilles' curse, according to which a monstrous hound has been haunting and killing the family males for centuries, in revenge for the misdeeds of one Sir Hugo Baskerville, who lived at the time of Oliver Cromwell.
The Hound of the Baskervilles was a re-read for me. I’ve read or listened to most of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels over the years, but I always enjoy them.
Sir Henry Baskerville needs Sherlock’s help. He’s inherited a house in Dartmoor, at the edge of the moor, in rather unpleasant circumstances. The former landowner, Sir Charles died of a heart attack, apparently while feeling from a giant hellhound, the family’s curse. After a brief time in London, Sir Henry heads off to his new estate along with Watson, who has strict instructions to stay with Sir Henry and to especially never let him go out onto the moor alone. Holmes can’t go with them because of some reason or other. We meet all the locals, including the servants of the house and the neighbors, a bug collector and his wife. To complicate issues, there’s also an escaped convict lose in the area.
It’s a good solid mystery. Watson is his loyal self. Holmes is analytical and skeptical and he makes me smile. “He burst into one of his rare fits of laughter as he turned away from the picture. I have not heard him laugh often, and it has always boded ill to somebody.” As usual, we are not privy to all the information he has, until he reveals it to Watson, but we do get to see his methods and personality. It’s his logical mind against the potential of a supernatural villain. It’s a novel, long enough that we not only get to know Watson and Holmes, but the secondary characters are fully drawn and the story is given time to develop.
I wish I hadn’t known bits of the solution though. Mysteries are usually best the first time through when the twists are unexpected and the characters all potential suspects. Re-read’s are like visiting old friends you love, but who tell the same stories every time you see them.