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About the Author
Since 1986, Martin Powell has been a freelance writer. He has written hundreds of stories, many of which have been published by Disney, Marvel, Tekno comix, Moonstone Books, and others. In 1989, Powell received an Eisner Award nomination for his graphic novel Scarlet in Gaslight. This award is one of the highest comic book honors.
Date of Birth:May 22, 1859
Date of Death:July 7, 1930
Place of Birth:Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of Death:Crowborough, Sussex, England
Education:Edinburgh University, B.M., 1881; M.D., 1885
Read an Excerpt
Mr. Sherlock Holmes
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a "Penang lawyer." Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. "To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.," was engraved upon it, with the date "1884." It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry — dignified, solid, and reassuring.
"Well, Watson, what do you make of it?"
Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.
"How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head."
"I have, at least, a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me," said he. "But, tell me, Watson, what do you make of our visitor's stick? Since we have been so unfortunate as to miss him and have no notion of his errand, this accidental souvenir becomes of importance. Let me hear you reconstruct the man by an examination of it."
"I think," said I, following as far as I could the methods of my companion, "that Dr. Mortimer is a successful, elderly medical man, well-esteemed since those who know him give him this mark of their appreciation."
"Good!" said Holmes. "Excellent!"
"I think also that the probability is in favour of his being a country practitioner who does a great deal of his visiting on foot."
"Because this stick, though originally a very handsome one has been so knocked about that I can hardly imagine a town practitioner carrying it. The thick-iron ferrule is worn down, so it is evident that he has done a great amount of walking with it."
"Perfectly sound!" said Holmes.
"And then again, there is the 'friends of the C.C.H.' I should guess that to be the Something Hunt, the local hunt to whose members he has possibly given some surgical assistance, and which has made him a small presentation in return."
"Really, Watson, you excel yourself," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt."
He had never said as much before, and I must admit that his words gave me keen pleasure, for I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to his methods. I was proud, too, to think that I had so far mastered his system as to apply it in a way which earned his approval. He now took the stick the hound of the baske rvi lle s from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with his naked eyes. Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette, and carrying the cane to the window, he looked over it again with a convex lens.
"Interesting, though elementary," said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. "There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. It gives us the basis for several deductions."
"Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?"
"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. The man is certainly a country practitioner. And he walks a good deal."
"Then I was right."
"To that extent."
"But that was all."
"No, no, my dear Watson, not all — by no means all. I would suggest, for example, that a presentation to a doctor is more likely to come from a hospital than from a hunt, and that when the initials 'C.C.' are placed before that hospital the words 'Charing Cross' very naturally suggest themselves."
"You may be right."
"The probability lies in that direction. And if we take this as a working hypothesis we have a fresh basis from which to start our construction of this unknown visitor."
"Well, then, supposing that 'C.C.H.' does stand for 'Charing Cross Hospital,' what further inferences may we draw?"
"Do none suggest themselves? You know my methods. Apply them!"
"I can only think of the obvious conclusion that the man has practised in town before going to the country."
"I think that we might venture a little farther than this. Look at it in this light. On what occasion would it be most probable that such a presentation would be made? When would his friends unite to give him a pledge of their good will? Obviously at the moment when Dr. Mortimer withdrew from the service of the hospital in order to start a practice for himself. We know there has been a presentation. We believe there has been a change from a town hospital to a country practice. Is it, then, stretching our inference too far to say that the presentation was on the occasion of the change?"
"It certainly seems probable."
"Now, you will observe that he could not have been on the staff of the hospital, since only a man well-established in a London practice could hold such a position, and such a one would not drift into the country. What was he, then? If he was in the hospital and yet not on the staff he could only have been a house-surgeon or a house-physician — little more than a senior student. And he left five years ago — the date is on the stick. So your grave, middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air, my dear Watson, and there emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded, and the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff."
I laughed incredulously as Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his settee and blew little wavering rings of smoke up to the ceiling.
"As to the latter part, I have no means of checking you," said I, "but at least it is not difficult to find out a few particulars about the man's age and professional career." From my small medical shelf I took down the Medical Directory and turned up the name. There were several Mortimers, but only one who could be our visitor. I read his record aloud.
"Mortimer, James, M.R.C.S., 1882, Grimpen, Dartmoor, Devon. House-surgeon, from 1882 to 1884, at Charing Cross Hospital. The hound of the baske rvi lle s Winner of the Jackson prize for Comparative Pathology, with essay entitled 'Is Disease a Reversion?' Corresponding member of the Swedish Pathological Society. Author of 'Some Freaks of Atavism' (Lancet 1882). 'Do We Progress?' (Journal of Psychology, March, 1883). Medical Officer for the parishes of Grimpen, Thorsley, and High Barrow."
"No mention of that local hunt, Watson," said Holmes with a mischievous smile, "but a country doctor, as you very astutely observed. I think that I am fairly justified in my inferences. As to the adjectives, I said, if I remember right, amiable, unambitious, and absent-minded. It is my experience that it is only an amiable man in this world who receives testimonials, only an unambitious one who abandons a London career for the country, and only an absent-minded one who leaves his stick and not his visiting-card after waiting an hour in your room."
"And the dog?"
"Has been in the habit of carrying this stick behind his master. Being a heavy stick the dog has held it tightly by the middle, and the marks of his teeth are very plainly visible. The dog's jaw, as shown in the space between these marks, is too broad in my opinion for a terrier and not broad enough for a mastiff. It may have been — yes, by Jove, it is a curly-haired spaniel."
He had risen and paced the room as he spoke. Now he halted in the recess of the window. There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise.
"My dear fellow, how can you possibly be so sure of that?"
"For the very simple reason that I see the dog himself on our very door-step, and there is the ring of its owner. Don't move, I beg you, Watson. He is a professional brother of yours, and your presence may be of assistance to me. Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime? Come in!"
The appearance of our visitor was a surprise to me, since I had expected a typical country practitioner. He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, gray eyes, set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, for his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence. As he entered his eyes fell upon the stick in Holmes's hand, and he ran towards it with an exclamation of joy. "I am so very glad," said he. "I was not sure whether I had left it here or in the Shipping Office. I would not lose that stick for the world."
"A presentation, I see," said Holmes.
"From Charing Cross Hospital?"
"From one or two friends there on the occasion of my marriage."
"Dear, dear, that's bad!" said Holmes, shaking his head.
Dr. Mortimer blinked through his glasses in mild astonishment. "Why was it bad?"
"Only that you have disarranged our little deductions. Your marriage, you say?"
"Yes, sir. I married, and so left the hospital, and with it all hopes of a consulting practice. It was necessary to make a home of my own."
"Come, come, we are not so far wrong, after all," said Holmes. "And now, Dr. James Mortimer —"
"Mister, sir, Mister — a humble M.R.C.S."
"And a man of precise mind, evidently."
"A dabbler in science, Mr. Holmes, a picker up of shells on the shores of the great unknown ocean. I presume that it is Mr. Sherlock Holmes whom I am addressing and not —"
"No, this is my friend Dr. Watson."
"Glad to meet you, sir. I have heard your name mentioned in connection with that of your friend. You interest me very much, Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull."
Sherlock Holmes waved our strange visitor into a chair. "You are an enthusiast in your line of thought, I perceive, sir, as I am in mine," said he. "I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes. Have no hesitation in lighting one."
The man drew out paper and tobacco and twirled the one up in the other with surprising dexterity. He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect.
Holmes was silent, but his little darting glances showed me the interest which he took in our curious companion. "I presume, sir," said he at last, "that it was not merely for the purpose of examining my skull that you have done me the honour to call here last night and again today?"
"No, sir, no; though I am happy to have had the opportunity of doing that as well. I came to you, Mr. Holmes, because I recognized that I am myself an unpractical man and because I am suddenly confronted with a most serious and extraordinary problem. Recognizing, as I do, that you are the second highest expert in Europe —"
"Indeed, sir! May I inquire who has the honour to be the first?" asked Holmes with some asperity.
"To the man of precisely scientific mind the work of Monsieur Bertillon must always appeal strongly."
"Then had you not better consult him?"
"I said, sir, to the precisely scientific mind. But as a practical man of affairs it is acknowledged that you stand alone. I trust, sir, that I have not inadvertently —"
"Just a little," said Holmes. "I think, Dr. Mortimer, you would do wisely if without more ado you would kindly tell me plainly what the exact nature of the problem is in which you demand my assistance."
The Curse of the Baskervilles
"I have in my pocket a manuscript," said Dr. James Mortimer.
"I observed it as you entered the room," said Holmes.
"It is an old manuscript."
"Early eighteenth century, unless it is a forgery."
"How can you say that, sir?"
"You have presented an inch or two of it to my examination all the time that you have been talking. It would be a poor expert who could not give the date of a document within a decade or so. You may possibly have read my little monograph upon the subject. I put that at 1730."
"The exact date is 1742." Dr. Mortimer drew it from his breast-pocket. "This family paper was committed to my care by Sir Charles Baskerville, whose sudden and tragic death some three months ago created so much excitement in Devonshire. I may say that I was his personal friend as well as his medical attendant. He was a strong-minded man, sir, shrewd, practical, and as unimaginative as I am myself. Yet he took this document very seriously, and his mind was prepared for just such an end as did eventually overtake him."
Holmes stretched out his hand for the manuscript and flattened it upon his knee. "You will observe, Watson, the alternative use of the long s and the short. It is one of several indications which enabled me to fix the date."
I looked over his shoulder at the yellow paper and the faded script. At the head was written: "Baskerville Hall," and below in large, scrawling figures: "1742."
"It appears to be a statement of some sort."
"Yes, it is a statement of a certain legend which runs in the Baskerville family."
"But I understand that it is something more modern and practical upon which you wish to consult me?"
"Most modern. A most practical, pressing matter, which must be decided within twenty-four hours. But the manuscript is short and is intimately connected with the affair. With your permission I will read it to you."
Holmes leaned back in his chair, placed his finger-tips together, and closed his eyes, with an air of resignation. Dr. Mortimer turned the manuscript to the light and read in a high, cracking voice the following curious, old-world narrative:
"Of the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles there have been many statements, yet as I come in a direct line from Hugo Baskerville, and as I had the story from my father, who also had it from his, I have set it down with all belief that it occurred even as is here set forth. And I would have you believe, my sons, that the same Justice which punishes sin may also most graciously forgive it, and that no ban is so heavy but that by prayer and repentance it may be removed. Learn then from this story not to fear the fruits of the past, but rather to be circumspect in the future, that those foul passions whereby our family has suffered so grievously may not again be loosed to our undoing.
"Know then that in the time of the Great Rebellion (the history of which by the learned Lord Clarendon I most earnestly commend to your attention) this Manor of Baskerville was held by Hugo of that name, nor can it the hound of the baske rvi lle s be gainsaid that he was a most wild, profane, and godless man. This, in truth, his neighbours might have pardoned, seeing that saints have never flourished in those parts, but there was in him a certain wanton and cruel humour which made his name a by-word through the West. It chanced that this Hugo came to love (if, indeed, so dark a passion may be known under so bright a name) the daughter of a yeoman who held lands near the Baskerville estate. But the young maiden, being discreet and of good repute, would ever avoid him, for she feared his evil name. So it came to pass that one Michaelmas this Hugo, with five or six of his idle and wicked companions, stole down upon the farm and carried off the maiden, her father and brothers being from home, as he well knew. When they had brought her to the Hall the maiden was placed in an upper chamber, while Hugo and his friends sat down to a long carouse, as was their nightly custom. Now, the poor lass upstairs was like to have her wits turned at the singing and shouting and terrible oaths which came up to her from below, for they say that the words used by Hugo Baskerville, when he was in wine, were such as might blast the man who said them. At last in the stress of her fear she did that which might have daunted the bravest or most active man, for by the aid of the growth of ivy which covered (and still covers) the south wall she came down from under the eaves, and so homeward across the moor, there being three leagues betwixt the Hall and her father's farm.
Excerpted from "The Hound of The Baskervilles"
Copyright © 2017 Arthur Conan Doyle.
Excerpted by permission of Legend Times Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The great detective Legend of the hound A dangerous game Baskerville Hall Mystery on the moor The hound's next victim Holmes closes in Death on the moor.
What People are Saying About This
"Simon Prebble gives an expert reading of both of these works.... Listeners will be spellbound by Conan Doyle's masterful plots and Prebble's captivating narration." -AudioFile
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an excellent story. I've read it several times over the years. I would not, however recommend getting this version. I downloaded it as a free version and as they say you get what you pay for. This version has a lot of characters and symbols inserted in the text and, while it is not impossible to read, it is highly annoying.
I wanted to re-read The Hound of the Baskervilles now that I have my nook. However I couldn't get through the first 5 pages with all of the spelling errors, random symbols and strange page breaks and inserts. This review is not against Arthur Conan Doyle's work, but rather the shotty job of the transcribers...
I got to page 9 and gave up because of the misspelled words.
Still a great.
I know this is a free edition, but why are so many words misspelled? It really detracts from my enjoyment of the book.
Love it. A true recommendation! I am doing this play in my acting class!
This is an amazing book. My school class read it, I was the only one who actually read it. All though I think there was too much detail, and I was confused about scene changes... such as I thought they were in a hotel and they were on a road. It was still amazing!!!
I am new at this and learned quickly to read reviews first. This copy is impossible to read with all the little formatting errors.
This stinks! Who typed this, a five year old. Thank gosh its free. I barely made it through the first sentence! - 100 stars
I have to read this book for summer reading, and i wanted to know if this was the real one, because the other versions that seem real are $4.99 instead of just $.99. If someone xould reply, i would be very happy. Thank you for your time.
Major typos make it a bit hard to follow towards the end. I guess you get what you pay for.
I can´t help it - this is my favorite Sherlock Holmes mystery. Maybe because it was the first I read but I do love the moor, the mist, the howling and the legend of the dreadful monstrous dog. It´s a perfect read for a stormy winter´s evening in your favorite chair with a cup of tea beside you.
As a lover of mysteries and thrillers I felt this was required reading. The powers of deduction are simply amazing! Great full length story for Holmes with an added bonus of the short story, "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" at the end.
I've read a fair number of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but this was the first novel-length one I've picked up. Holmes is called in to get to the bottom of the death of a man connected to a family legend of a hellhound. Holmes and Watson of course do not believe in the supernatural, and their methodical tying up of all the loose threads is fascinating, particularly considering this was written in a time before fingerprinting and DNA evidence. I suppose there are those who do not enjoy having every single minute detail explained, but to me that's what delights me most about Holmes stories: he loves to explain how he came to every single one of his seemingly random deductions. I especially like Holmes's childlike enthusiasm when faced with a challenge: the more difficult it is, the more he enjoys himself. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of this story, however, is how much of it is solved by Watson on his own. Evidently his many years as Holmes's companion have rubbed off on him. My husband has a huge tome o' Holmes on our bookshelf; I may have to read more of it.
This is the most famous Sherlock Holmes novel, and certainly one of the best, the spookiest and most atmospheric, set in 1889 in the eerie moors of Devonshire. Right from the beginning we're given a demonstration of Holmes' gifts when, from a walking stick left behind by a visitor, Holmes is able to deduce a wealth of details about the man, down to the breed of his dog. Add a centuries old manor inherited by the young Sir Henry Baskerville along with a centuries old family curse involving a demon hound that has seemingly killed the previous squire, a butler and housekeeper of the manor with secrets, an escaped murderer loose upon the moor, and several suspicious neighbors: Franklin, a litigious crank with an estranged daughter, the mysterious Stapletons--and you have quite a delicious brew served up.One thing I noted, giving some of the bumbling depictions of Watson I've seen, is that Holmes himself commends Watson for his "zeal and intelligence" and Holmes tells Baskerville that "no man ... is better worth having at your side when you are in a tight place." If Watson seems dim, it's only because Holmes casts such a bright light. Not very long, this was a very enjoyable and quick read.
One of Doyle¿s better known Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is one that begins in benign city drudgery and ends in the sensational, sensual moors of the countryside. A family history, plagued by the evil tale of a spiritual being, imposes itself on the pragmatic and scientific modernity of Holmes and Watson¿s practice, throwing them for a ghostly loop.When I was in third grade, I ¿read¿ the Hound of the Baskervilles. I had been given a collection of Doyle¿s Holmes stories by some well-intentioned relative and being the avid little reader that I was, dug in. I remember very few of the the other stories but because I was, even (or especially) at 9, an avid animal advocate, I remember the The Hound.At least I thought I did. When I am distressed about the things my son (currently 19 months) is reading in seven and a half years, I¿ll have to remind myself that The Hound stuck with me in little part regarding the plot. The tawdry implied love affairs and inherent violence had no effect on me at that age. I think I read it simply because of the dog.Of course, as a 26 year old, Watson¿s recount of the countryside drama, packed with supernatural intrigue, holds much more weight. There are great writers still working today and they¿ll certainly do in a pinch but there is nothing quite like the witty one liners and beautiful mysterious prose of Dolye¿s stories. Through and through its tiny entirety, the Hound of the Baskerville is fantastic craftsmanship and an inevitable crowd favorite.
I wanted to join in some of the challenge reads for October, but the horror genre is not for me. However, this old classic was just spooky enough ¿ the atmospheric moor, with its swamp, and chill, and fog; the hound and its legend; the sinister designs on the house of Baskerville ¿ all combined to make a great murder mystery.
audiobook from the library - The narrator of this book was SO difficult to listen to, but I made it through. The only thing more painful than his 1930s British high society accent was his fake 1930s American/Canadian accent. The story itself was good, but of course I more or less knew the plot already (thank you, Wishbone)
Another classic, if you haven't read any Doyle be prepared for a wild romp of a mystery. This was one of my first introductions to his works and I haven't read a work by this author that I haven't enjoyed.
Having never read (or watched) a Sherlock Holmes story, I wasn't sure what to expect. The story starts on the Devonshire moors where the legend of the Hound is laid out. The story takes a swift turn to London where the creepiness starts and as Dr Watson returns with the new owner of Baskerville Hall to investigate whilst Holmes in busy with something else in London. Dr Watson then investigates all potential suspects uncovering many pieces of the puzzle but arriving at dead ends. Of course Holmes steps in near the end with some ideas of his own and manages to tie up Watson's dead & loose ends, solving the case. I found the story kept good steady pace and didn't feel at all dated, the plot twists & turns just keep coming.
The only Sherlock Holmes book I have ever read. This was a fairly straightforward read, with enough characters to treat as 'suspects' so it isn't obvious 'whodunnit'. In fact, given that the source of the deaths appears to be a supernatural being, it's always at the back of your mind that there may be some spooky solution, which adds an interesting dimension.
A Sherlock Holmes classic. Spooky things are happening on the moors surrouding and old estate. Is it a family curse, a ghost, or something a bit more earthly? Has the charm of a Victorian mystery novel.
It really good for 18 under