January 28, 2021

#08-042: The Hound of the Baskervilles

a man lies on the ground in a bleak landscape, with a huge black dog over hime; a woman is lying behind the dog, and there are several men in thebackground
The Hound stands over the slain form of Sir Hugo Baskerville

Note: Since British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced his most famous character in 1887, Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. John Watson have become the most familiar detectives in the world.

Get Ready: Have you ever read or seen any of the stories of Sherlock Holmes? What are his characteristics?

Sir Charles Baskerville has been found dead on his estate, with a look of horror on his face and the footprints of a gigantic hound nearby.

This is a case for Sherlock Holmes!

A Baskerville family friend, Dr. Mortimer, tells Holmes of an ancient curse on the Baskervilles: a huge demonic dog that stalks the family's heirs, starting with Sir Hugo Baskerville in the 17th century. Holmes, of course, is skeptical. Nevertheless, he sends Watson out to the estate to protect young Henry Baskerville (the next heir) and Mortimer.

The manor house sits on a bleak moor, said to be the home of the hound, and dotted with areas of quicksand. A convict named Selden has recently escaped from prison and is hiding out in the remote area. Living in the house are: the butler, Barrymore (Watson suspects him, as he seems to be signaling to someone at night); an attractive young brother and sister, Jack and Beryl Stapleton; and a few others. One of the grumpy old neighbors, Frankland, has a daughter named Laura Lyons.

Sir Henry is attracted to Beryl, who seems to be warning him of something. Unbeknownst to all, even Watson, Holmes has been living out on the moor in disguise, and at last comes in and explains the solution to the mystery.

There really is a hound. It has been placed there by Jack Stapleton, who has seduced young Laura to be his accomplice. This is all the more heinous, as Beryl is actually his wife! Jack is a distant relative of the Baskervilles, and if he can get rid of all the direct heirs he will inherit the estate. Beryl was supposed to lure Henry out on the moor, where the "hound" would get him, clearing the way for Jack.

He might have succeeded, but the butler had given Selden, the escaped convict--his brother-in-law--some of Henry's old clothes. (It was the butler who had been sending the signals at night, to Selden.) Fooled by Henry's scent on the clothes, the hound killed Selden by mistake.

Holmes sets a trap, using Henry as bait, to catch Jack in the act. They shoot the hound before Sir Henry can fall into its jaws. Jack, however, escapes--only to drown in the quicksand on the moor.

Case closed!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hound_of_the_Baskervilles

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. accomplice
  2. bait
  3. curse
  4. demonic
  5. heinous
  6. lure
  7. moor
  8. scent
  9. sidekick
  10. skeptical

  1. hellish; of the devil
  2. an open wasteland with poor drainage
  3. a close friend or associate
  4. attract or entice, especially for evil purposes
  5. an assistant in a criminal activity
  6. something used to attract a victim
  7. most terrible; hateful
  8. the smell of something
  9. an evil result wished on someone
  10. disbelieving; doubtful

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 28, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. f; 3. i; 4. a; 5. g; 6. d; 7. b; 8. h; 9. c; 10. j