Tuesday, November 10, 2020

"The footprints of a gigantic hound"

CrimeReads has a good post about Conan Doyle's best Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. If you haven't read the book or seen one of the films, don't go to the link — it reveals too much of the plot, and that's fatal to the pleasure of a first read. From the post:
.... The Hound itself is no common blackmailer or thief or assassin. It is a thing of nightmares, so frightening that the sight of it alone can induce a fatal heart attack in one victim and send another hurtling to his death off a rocky outcrop while fleeing it. It is designed to scare not just characters in the novel but readers too....

Nobody can forget the book’s title character, once they have met it, even if the details of the story surrounding it may grow a little hazy in the memory afterwards. Like Count Dracula in the Bram Stoker original, the Hound looms perpetually over the events of the narrative even when it is, so to speak, offstage.

Professor Moriarty may be Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, an archvillain every bit his equal in intelligence and perceptiveness, but the Hound is arguably the more formidable opponent, not least because—brutish, instinctual, carnal, inhuman—it represents everything Holmes is not. His ultimate victory over it is a victory over fear, proving that intellect should be the master of irrationality, that ego should always trump id.

Somewhere in all of us there is a Dartmoor haunted by a gigantic hound. We have seen its footprints. We know it lurks amid the swirling mist. ....
In the Footprints of the Hound: Why The Hound of the Baskervilles Still Haunts

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