Hound Of The Baskervilles Essay, Research Paper
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is an excellent book, and one of the best mysteries I have ever read. Holmes, the superhuman detective, is asked to investigate the death of Charles Baskerville, which many believe to be the work of the ferocious hound, a curse brought about by the misdeeds of Hugo Baskerville. When Sir Henry inherits the estate, Holmes must solve the mystery before another Baskerville meets his end.
The Hound of the Baskervilles novel has one of the most complex plots of any mystery, with many unexpected twists, and is one that will keep you reading until its suspenseful, engrossing climax. Particularly pleasing and illuminating is the light it sheds on late Victorian sensibilities, particularly in areas, which are now deemed to be, to put it delicately, highly charged. The setting is also well put together, and the danger of the foggy moor only adds to the drama. The way Holmes acts is a further addition to the suspense and atmosphere of the novel.
Upon meeting Sherlock Holmes Dr. Mortimer says, “I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parental fissure?…I confess that I covet your skull.” I never expected such an exemplary example of early anthropological practice in Doyle, because at the time, anthropologists didn’t study the culture of native peoples, they wanted their skulls. Likewise the ladder of evolution is applied to races and classes (blacks, the poor, and criminals are presumed to be closer to animals, and ‘empirical’ evidence proves this). Sir Arthur Conyan Doyle is not necessarily an avid follower of such theories, despite costs incurred to so-called racial inferiors, but his books give a wonderful slice of late 19th century sensibilities. Those who are historically minded should find Doyle, and this book in particular, to be of extreme interest. In it one can see racial science applied ‘rationally’ and to effect by its practitioners in good faith and innocence.
This story had huge appeal for me, largely because of the believability of the characters. Holmes, Watson, and Henry are very realistic – and people that I would want to know. Holmes was so real to many readers that they actually wrote to 221 Baker Street, his fictional address. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not only a great mystery writer, but a wonderful novelist as well. This novel is proof that he really deserved the title of knight.
In sum, the book is entertaining, well written, and most famous. It will be of interest to any interested in crime fiction, mysteries, literary history, “racial-science”, racism, the history of science, and the history of culture and sensibility. “The Hound” is a microcosm of actions and thoughts current at the time of its inception.