Book: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Summary: The legend has it that the Baskervilles of Devonshire are cursed to be murdered by a demonic hound. So when Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly and the footprints of a hound are discovered around his body, Dr. Mortimer approaches Sherlock Holmes to investigate the real cause of the death. The next Baskerville to die is Sir Henry Baskerville who, being the only legitimate heir, inherits the Baskerville Hall (the ancestral residence of Baskervilles in Devonshire moor). Henry disposes all the superstitions and moves to the Baskerville Hall without caring much about his life. Now, it’s all up to Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson, to find out the truth behind the legend and save Henry’s life.
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Social/Historical context: The novel is set during the Victorian Era, so it’s similar to the literatures written in that era. The difference being that here you don’t read about the society, class of people, ball room dance etc. In a Victorian backdrop, the novel’s primary focus is on telling a gothic tale. The concept of the legend in the story is based on an actual West Country legend whose tombstone used to be surrounded by hounds. Of course, the rest of the story is all fictional.
Writing Style: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sets an eerie, haunting and chilly atmosphere in this story through his vivid and picturesque description of the melancholy moor. Imagine a place which is far away, above from the clutter of a township and which houses only a few high profile families living in large houses spread across the quite moor. Then, there is this Baskerville Hall—a royal mansion—in which strange things occur during the night, footsteps are heard, someone weeps and a mysterious fellow lurks outside the hall in the dark woods. Not to forget, the ghostly sound of a hound’s cry! All this engages and keeps the reader on the edge of the seat till the time the truth is uncovered. The speech is in third person narrative. Here and there, the author explains the art of deduction that is interesting to read. The characterization is of its class with the characters well developed and impactful. The characters are well introduced along with their entry in the story. Sometimes, readers might want to infer certain traits of the characters.
My Thoughts: Has it been a long time since you experienced a good chiller? Then, this is the one you are missing. Right from the first page, the story will give you goose bumps. It doesn’t require you to complete some odd number of pages to set the pace and action. The thrill begins just as you start the novel. The mood is maintained as you proceed. If you have it in you, there are hints in the story as well to figure out the culprit. This is a masterpiece in the genre of detective/suspense/horror stories.
Book Reviewed by Suchandra Ganguly
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Correction Not rated yet
Just wanted to make a correction in the review of the novel.
Earlier in the review, I had mentioned that the speech is in third person: "The speech is …
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