Why The Hound of the Baskervilles is the Best Sherlock Holmes Story….
I admit, the above is possibly the most clickbait-y title I’ve ever used, and it’s a lead-in to some shameless self promotion.
I recently had the opportunity to contribute, alongside a number of other wonderful and erudite Sherlockians, to an anthology called About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story is the Best. I argued for my favorite story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Here’s a sneak peak at why this story is not only the “best” (a slippery term), but also, in my view, the most culturally significant:
The Hound of the Baskervilles is perhaps the most famous of Sherlock Holmes stories; it is certainly the most famous novel, and with good reason: if one were to choose a single story that perfectly embodies the cultural significance of Sherlock Holmes, then as well as now, this would be it.
The novel recounts how Watson and Holmes travel to Dartmoor to investigate the mystery of the “Hound of the Baskervilles,” a legend of a fantastic hound that has been reportedly killing members of the Baskerville family, and unearth a murder motivated by the desire for an inheritance. In short, it is a story in which the rational Sherlock Holmes is pitted against the supernatural, in the form of an ancient legend and a familial curse. This trope, or theme, of the ultra-rational Sherlock Holmes confronting the unexplainable supernatural, is one of the most popular in Sherlockian adaptations, pastiches, and retellings, returning again and again in every form and genre conceivable. And unsurprisingly: it gets at the heart of what Sherlock Holmes means, what he stands for.
For the answer as to how and why, though, you’ll have to check out the book. It’s released tomorrow, October 11th, and is available for purchase from Wildside Press. All proceeds go to the Beacon Society, which promotes the teaching of Sherlock Holmes in school, so that we can indoctrinate youths into the lifestyle that is Sherlockiana from an early age.
This is also the first time I’ve been published in a book, rather than a magazine or journal, and it’s also an exciting time for me! I look forward to sharing my thoughts with the world, though I admit, having something go out into the world in print and remain there forever does not come without a bit of trepidation!