Book Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles
By: Julia Xiao
Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a mystery novel about a genius detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and his roommate, Dr. John Watson. They come across a murder mystery case of the Baron of Baskerville, Charles Baskerville. They decide to try to solve the mystery and apprehend the culprit. In London, Holmes and Watson meet up with Henry Baskerville, the heir to Charles Baskerville, to get more clues and determine the best course of action. Watson decides to travel to Baskervilles with Sir Henry while Holmes stays in London. While in Baskervilles, Watson gives Holmes detailed reports of clues that he had found and of the people that he has met. Holmes is actually also in Baskerville solving the case and collecting information. Both of them come to the conclusion that Mr. Stapleton, a friend of Charles Baskerville, is the culprit. Holmes, Watson, and another detective, Lestrade, catch Mr. Stapleton red-handed while attempting to murder Sir Henry, but he escapes. Although Stapleton escapes, he drowns in a bog while trying to get to a shelter.
The author writes in an old English way of writing. It is very riddle-like and difficult to understand. He incorporates vocabulary from the 1800s and 1900s. For example, Conan Doyle writes, “The past and the present are within my field of inquiry, but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer.”Although it is hard to understand, it is very interesting and realistic.This style is not seen very often in modern books. This aspect brings the book down by a little bit.
The author uses great description to describe many objects, characters, settings, and action. This is very important in a mystery novel because it helps the reader understand some things that the character has observed in the story. This novel has some action in it and the author has described what happened in great detail and clarity. The author uses a large amount of sensory and figurative language. For example, he writes, “Behind the peaceful and sunlit country-side there rose ... the long, gloomy curve of the moor, broken by the jagged and sinister hills.” In this example, the author makes the reader feel the contrast of the two different settings by incorporating the feeling of warm and cool. This aspect increases the rating by a lot.
This book has an amazing plot with lots of unexpected twists and turns. The author constructs a complicated and suspenseful story. The events throughout the story makes the reader want to turn the page and read on. An example of suspense that the author writes is, “All my unspoken instincts, my vague suspicions, suddenly took shape and centered upon the naturalist ... a creature of infinite patience and craft, with a smiling face and a murderous heart.” This sentence makes the reader want to know more of who the creature is. The plotline is the main aspect that hooks the reader into reading the book and the author of this book has done so spectacularly.
Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles is definitely worth the read. The author’s style is complicated yet very interesting. Its great description makes the readers feel like they are right beside the characters. Lastly, the exciting plotline keeps the readers on their toes and makes them yearn for more action and mystery. This book will make you want to read more of the author’s books.