by Ken Ludwig


Ivy Tech Waldron Auditorium

The Book


hound-of-baskervilleSir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this story shortly after returning to his home Undershaw from South Africa, where he had worked as a volunteer physician at the Langman Field Hospital in Bloemfontein at the time of the Second Boer War. Conan Doyle had not written about Sherlock Holmes in eight years, having killed off the character in the 1893 story The Final Problem. Although The Hound of the Baskervilles is set before the latter events, two years later Doyle would bring Holmes back for good, explaining in The Adventure of the Empty House that Holmes had faked his own death.

He was assisted with the plot by a 30-year-old Daily Express journalist named Bertram Fletcher Robinson (1870–1907). His ideas came from the legend of Richard Cabell, which was the fundamental inspiration for the Baskerville tale of a hellish hound and a cursed country squire. Moreover, folklore includes tales of a fearsome supernatural dog known as the Yeth hound that Doyle may have heard.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. In 1999, it was listed as the top Holmes novel, with a perfect rating from Sherlockian scholars.

About the Author:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a British physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, which are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels

Born 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland to parents of Irish Catholic descent, Doyle was supported by wealthy uncles after the early death of his father, and was sent to a Jesuit preparatory school. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1876 to 1881, and began writing short stories during that time. After sporadic employment in the medical field around Britain, Doyle eventually attempted to set up his own medical practice. It was during this time, while waiting for patients, that Doyle began writing fiction.

Doyle drew influence for the character of Holmes from his former university teacher, Joseph Bell. In a letter to Bell, Doyle wrote, “It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes … round the center of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man… I tried to build up a scientific detective who solved cases on his own merits and not through the folly of the criminal.”