Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!
Possibly the most famous case of Holmes, or maybe second after the Reichenbach Falls one, I decided now was the time to read it before seeing Ken Ludwig’s farce Baskerville, which is a hoot, by the way. Sticking pretty close to the book, there are only five actors doing every part in the book, plus a few extra. The humor in the play is extremely silly and not a part of the book, but there is enough of Doyle in there that you get a good idea of the book. The book is not so much a whodunnit as a how-to-prove-they-dunnit, but an entertaining read. Holmes and Watson are out when visited by a Dr. Mortimer. They engage in a small contest of deduction from the stick he leaves behind. Dr. Mortimer is worried by the strange death of his former friend and patient Sir Charles Baskerville, who was found dead in the yew walk near his home, his features so distorted as to be almost unrecognizable. He wants to consult Holmes on what the heir, Sir Henry, should do. Holmes, unable to leave London, sends Watson with Sir Henry and Dr. Mortimer to Devonshire with orders to write him in detail of all that happens. This Watson faithfully does, but it means quite a lot less Holmes than usual.
I don’t have much to say about this. My major objection is addressed in the closing paragraphs, so at least I know that Doyle had considered it. I enjoyed the book. The pace and characters are good. At one point I thought Watson quite thick for following the course he did, but then something happened which I ought to have seen coming and didn’t, so I guess I shouldn’t point fingers. I have another objection to what the villain did in the end, but it’s mainly a quibble. Most of us can’t think clearly all the time. Overall, I highly recommend this if you enjoy mystery and Victorian fiction.
This counts as a Crime Classic for Karen’s Back to the Classics Challenge, which I hope and believe I signed up for this year. This is also good for an animal in the title for Bev’s Just the Facts, Ma’am. I believe that what this has in common with Nine Times Nine is the attempt to make people believe something supernatural is taking place when really there are no hellhounds, family curses or immortals roaming the earth. This makes it the next book in my trail for Follow the Clues, also hosted by Bev.