The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
There are those typical Sherlock Holmes adventures that involve mystery, maniacs, and murder, and then there are those that tinge on the thrilling and scary. The Hound of the Baskervilles is actually kind of scary. I’ve read it several times, and each time, there is a bit of thrill and chill that occurs when I read it. The BBC Sherlock series does it paltry justice in the second season, if you ask me.
Sherlock and John are visited by Dr. James Mortimer, seeking answers to the death of his old friend, Sir Charles Baskerville. There’s an old urban legend that the Baskervilles are cursed by an inhuman hound that has hunted the family after a deal the ancient Sir Hugo had supposedly made with the devil. Sir Charles’s body had been found in the lane, with a giant dog’s footprints next to it. Dr. Mortimer worries about the heir and last Baskerville, Sir Henry. Sir Henry becomes entranced by a neighborhood woman, and it is in the neighborhood that several characters come alive, as does a moor in which an escaped convict is supposedly hiding. Several elements come together in this novel taking place before Holmes’ intended death.
Like I said, this is my favorite of the Holmes stories/novels, because it is so suspenseful, interesting, and filled with many details. It’s not hard to see why Doyle chose to revive the Sherlock Holmes series after the runaway success of this novel—it’s definitely the sharpest of the plots and has one of the creepiest villains yet. I greatly enjoy this novel best, and while you may want to read some of the other Holmes mysteries, this is a terrific standalone novel that can be enjoyed on its own.