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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Oh, those crazy Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles -  Arthur Conan Doyle

This is not the first time I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles. I'm not sure what number re-read I am on, but I find it just as engaging every time I read it.


I agree with some of the other buddy readers that this particular book rather lacks in the Holmes-time, but my love of Watson carries the day for me. Sometimes I actually prefer the bumbling sidekick to the primary character - and Sherlock Holmes is occasionally difficult to like.


However, the thing I love the most about this book is the setting. I simply cannot get enough of the moors. Someday, I am going to have to plan a literary pilgrimage to Devonshire, the location of Dartmoor, which is the location of so many fantastic books.


Grimpen Mire is modeled on Fox Tor, Dartmoor:



Doyle's descriptions of the landscape never fail to thrill me:


“It is a wonderful place, the moor,” said he, looking round over the undulating downs, long green rollers, with crests of jagged granite foaming up into fantastic surges. “You never tire of the moor. You cannot think the wonderful secrets which it contains. It is so vast, and so barren, and so mysterious.”




Every minute that white woolly plain which covered one-half of the moor was drifting closer and closer to the house. Already the first thin wisps of it were curling across the golden square of the lighted window. The farther wall of the orchard was already invisible, and the trees were standing out of a swirl of white vapour. As we watched it the fog-wreaths came crawling round both corners of the house and rolled slowly into one dense bank on which the upper floor and the roof floated like a strange ship upon a shadowy sea.


And then we have Holmes himself:


One of Sherlock Holmes’s defects--if, indeed, one may call it a defect--was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfilment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants.


The mystery itself is quite pedestrian, in my opinion, when held up to today's standards. But back when Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles, it must have caused a sensation, indeed. And even after all of these years, it still holds up.