Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does his very best Edgar Allen Poe impersonation with HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, a story full of red herrings and side characters that shows Doyle again experimenting with the style of his Sherlock Holmes stories.
In this episode, Holmes and Watson are employed to investigate the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskervilles, whose family, the legend goes, is haunted by a giant dog that will kill them if they’re caught wandering the moors surrounding their home at night. Doyle was apparently inspired by the legend of Richard Cabell and possibly by the Devon legend of the Yeth hound, and he uses such inspiration to set the scene.
Holmes is absent for much of the book, as he sends Watson to investigate while he attends to business in London, and in Holmes’ absence we’re told the tale through Watson’s letters to Holmes, describing what has taken place in the master sleuth’s absence. Holmes doesn’t show up until the mystery has nearly concluded, which allows Watson to show himself far more than Holmes’ shadow.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed the story, though I don’t know that I would single it out as Doyle’s best Sherlock tale. With the horror and action elements inherent to the story, I can see why the story has been adapted so often, but I’d picked out the villain early, possibly because I’d seen “Brotherhood of the Wolf,” a movie clearly inspired by this story.