Top critical review
on February 1, 2003
Written after Conan-Doyle's 'Final Problem' short story about Holmes' 'death' this book takes place before his confrontation with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Doctor Mortimer from Dartmoor comes to visit Holmes with the story of a beastly hound which has killed Charles Baskerville and will more than likely come after his heir Sir Henry.
Holmes promptly sends Watson off to Dartmoor to guard Sir Henry and report back with all developments. This is the point where Holmes disappears for almost half of the book. But he returns near the end to explain the mystery to all involved.
While it is better than Conan-Doyle's short stories in terms of a stronger narrative and a larger mystery 'Hound of the Baskervilles' still suffers from long, ludicrous and unrealistic monologues and superficial contrivances. As always the story is told from the point of view of Watson. But it simply isn't a unique enough point of view to make the first person narrative worth it. I can honestly say that if the story was told in the 3rd person perspective it would make hardly any difference.
I cannot for the life of me work out how this book is sometimes regarded as a horror. Nothing in it scared me at all. The hound doesn't even show up until the end. And even then Conan-Doyle's description doesn't paint a very vivid picture in your head.
There just isn't enough intrigue or reason to keep turning the pages. The human and reality-based side of the story comes thru too strongly to allow any sort of fantastical creativity. As a classic it's a disappointment but compared to the short stories it's definitely better than the norm.