"Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke out of the wall of fog."The feeling of the moor, the old house and the suspicious and unexplained death of Sir Charles lay the foundation for a spooky atmosphere. Also, it's cold. Have you noticed that most paranormal experiences happen when it's cold?
Sherlock has dealt with the Master Criminal of his time, murderers, thieves and a very clever woman. He had yet to deal with the devil. Until he heard the tale of the Hound.
Doyle lays out a plot thick with the gothic novel's romantic overtures of horror and mystery. At the time he wrote this, 1900, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was 75 years old, Dracula had been around for several years, Edgar Allen Poe's works were in circulation, "penny dreadful's" had been prolific and readers were pretty comfortable with "atmosphere".
Doyle did a great job of writing the line between atmospheric horror and Sherlockian logic. As you proceed in the adventure of tailing someone in the streets of London, assessing clues, beholding the stark and moody moor, meeting the strange people who all seem to be hiding something and stride about with the ever stolid Dr Watson we are left undecided as to who, or what, is behind it all.
Was it the butler who creeps about at night and signals out the window? What of the serial murderer escaped from prison? What of the missing boot? Where is this demonic hound?
I don't have a favorite character in this story, I am equally enamored with Sherlock and Watson, I think they are the perfect team, being a mixture of intelligence, common sense, criticism and wholesomeness.
I do love the phraseology and vocabulary. I'm a word girl and I love the good turn of phrase:
"It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull." - Mr James Mortimer
"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." -Sherlock Holmes
As psychological thrillers go the The Hound of the Baskervilles isn't as terrifying as some, yet I think it is satisfying in plot and scope. Interestingly, Doyle himself was enthralled with the supernatural world, he was a member of the Society of Psychical Research and the Freemasons. I've not discovered why he kept the Hound a natural dog rather than breach the world of spirituality. I'd like to think that perhaps Sherlock would have nothing of it, regardless of Doyle's own feelings.
If you have read all of Doyle's works and desire to continue in the company of Sherlock Holmes I do recommend The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie Hall.
Did you read along? Now is your opportunity to share your thoughts/blog posts in the comment section below.
On and on into November we go!
P.S. I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice at Sky's recommendation years ago and absolutely loved it. If you're looking for a fun mystery series, check that out!