Top 10 Notes: The Hound of the Baskervilles
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born May 22, 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took up writing short stories while he was in university. He found his greatest success after introducing the detective Sherlock Holmes, which remains his greatest legacy and contribution to the world of literature. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is the third of four crime novels written by Conan Doyle about the detective. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this instalment of Mojo Notes, we'll be exploring ten things you should know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
It’s the third of this author’s novels featuring Sherlock Holmes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and in this instalment of Mojo Notes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
#10 – About the Author
Born in 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Arthur Conan Doyle starting writing short stories while studying medicine at university. Since he attracted few clients as a doctor, he continued to write. Though he found much success when he created detective Sherlock Holmes, he was also politically active and wrote non-fiction pieces. After being knighted by the King, he wrote more books. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died of a heart attack in 1930.
#9 – Influences and Inspirations
During the 19th century, science wasn’t yet a popular tool for criminal investigators. So it was a fairly new concept for Conan Doyle’s detective to use observation skills to solve crimes– and it likely contributed to Sherlock Holmes’ popularity. While Doyle was probably inspired by several sources, his biggest influence for the character is Dr. Joseph Bell and the lecturer’s scientific methods of observation.
#8 – Settings and Era
Conan Doyle wrote this gothic style mystery and crime novel after spending time as a doctor in South Africa during the Boer War. It was published eight years after his previous Sherlock Holmes story, in which readers were led to believe the detective had died. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is set before this story and takes place in various locations in England, such as London and the Devonshire moors during the late 1880s.
#7 – Plot
The crime fiction novel follows Detective Sherlock Holmes and assistant Dr. John Watson as they try to solve the mystery surrounding Sir Charles Baskerville’s death. Told from Watson’s point of view, it also describes their efforts to protect Baskerville’s nephew and heir Henry from the family curse. They eventually realize Henry’s long-lost relative Jack Stapleton set a dog upon him Charles in the hope that his death would bring him closer to the family inheritance. Fortunately, Holmes and Watson are able to stop Stapleton from doing the same to Henry, and this results in Stapleton fleeing and falling to his death.
#6 – Sherlock Holmes
London detective Sherlock Holmes is known for his intelligence, rational way of thinking and powers of observation and deduction. He distinguishes himself by using scientific methods and technologies in his criminal investigations. His influence is so powerful that he doesn’t actually need to be physically present for us to know he’s actually busy on the case. And by novel’s end, Holmes has saved the day again.
#5 – Dr. John H. Watson
Dr. John Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ trusty and loyal assistant as well as the novel’s narrator. Though he’s usually a sidekick and more of a secondary character, Watson eagerly participates in much of the action and crime solving in this novel.
#4 – Other Characters: The Baskervilles and Jack Stapleton
Legend has it a ghostly hound ended the life of the selfish Sir Hugo Baskerville in the 1600s. Since Sir Charles Baskerville believed in this family cruse, his friend Dr. James Mortimer asks Holmes to investigate his mysterious death and protect his nephew Henry from the same fate. It’s the Baskerville family fortune that leads the evil Jack Stapleton, who’s actually a Baskerville, to plot his relatives’ murders so he can be next in line.
#3 – Values and Themes
One of the novel’s main themes is the exploration of good versus evil, as can be seen when Hugo Baskerville and Jack Stapleton’s actions ultimately lead to their deaths. The importance of truth versus fantasy is also a prevalent theme and is represented by Holmes and Watson’s solving of the case and the Baskerville curse. “The Hound of Baskervilles” also touches upon ideas of rank, rights and privileges between family members.
#2 – Modern Popularity
Though Conan Doyle first introduced the private investigator in his 1887 novel “A Study in Scarlet,” Sherlock Holmes really gained fame and commercial appeal with the author’s short stories. Thanks to Holmes, Conan Doyle is considered the man who’s popularized crime fiction as a literary genre. First published in 1901, “The Hound of Baskervilles” sold so well that Conan Doyle had to take the character off hiatus and write several more stories involving him.
#1 – Adaptations
Because of Sherlock Holmes’ popularity, the novel has been adapted multiple times and referenced in various media. These include literature parodies, theatrical productions, and comic book interpretations. Notable screen versions include its first color adaptation in 1959, BBC Television’s adaptations from the 1960s and more.
Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite pieces of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” trivia? For more informative top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.