There’s something about cold November nights that really makes me want to read dark murder mysteries and where better to turn than this classic by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are approached by Dr Mortimer following the death of his neighbour and friend Sir Charles Baskerville. The Baskerville family has long been haunted by the myth of a demonic hound out for blood, and the discovery of a large paw print at the scene of the crime has Dr Mortimer convinced that this may be more than just a story. The arrival of the new heir to the Baskerville estate prompts Holmes and Watson to embark upon a case of solving the murder and preventing another from happening.
This is probably Conan Doyle’s most famous work, and yet it is noticeable that for a large part of the story, Holmes is absent, existing only in the shadows, whilst Watson takes centre stage. The real strength of The Hound of the Baskervilles is its haunting atmosphere; the evocative Gothic descriptions of Dartmoor, and the books reliance on the supernatural genre to build tension around a mystery that is all too rational and human in the end.
Overall, this is not my favourite Holmes story (personally I prefer the short stories about the world’s most famous fictional detective), but it is an enjoyable, exciting tale and just perfect for curling up with on dreary November nights.