Book – Review
Made by –
Afreen A. Haque
XI - B
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a young man he seemed destined for a career in medicine. In 1876 he attended the University of Edinburgh Medical School. There he met Joseph Bell, whose deductive powers and dramatic flair he would later embody in the character of Sherlock Holmes.
In the early 1880s he served as a medical officer on an Arctic whaling ship and ship’s surgeon on a voyage to West Africa. By the summer of 1882, he had settled in the town of Southsea in the south of England. In 1885 he received his medical degree. Even after he was a well-established writer, he continued to pursue his medical education, becoming an eye specialist. His medical practice was unsuccessful, leaving him plenty of free time to write.
His first story was “The Mystery of Sarassa Valley,” published in October 1879 in Chamber’s Journal. He had trouble finding a publisher for his first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which eventually appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887. It and its successor, the novel The Sign of Four, published in 1890, were not popular at first. In 1891 Conan Doyle agreed to supply the new magazine the Strand with a series of Sherlock Holmes short stories. “A Scandal in Bohemia” appeared in the magazine’s July 1891 issue and was a popular sensation. For the rest of his life Conan Doyle was pressured by publishers and the general public to write more stories about Sherlock Holmes.
He tried to stop writing the stories a number of times. Then he tried killing Holmes off in “The Final Problem,” the last of his second run of Holmes stories for the Strand. He received hate mail for killing Holmes and was besieged by publishers offering him huge sums of money to write more about Holmes. An American publisher finally offered more money than Conan Doyle could resist, and he agree to write The Hound of the Baskervilles. Conan Doyle died on July 7, 1930, at Crowborough, Sussex.
For many years, the region around the Baskerville estate was poor and backward, but when Sir Charles Baskerville returns to claim his estate, the region again begins to prosper. By devoting his vast fortune-earned in business-to better the community, Sir Charles fills the long-empty role of leadership that is the duty of the Baskervilles. But into this otherwise happy and orderly society comes disorder in the form of two utterly evil men. One is a convicted mass murderer escaped from prison, who lurks about on the moors; the other is Seldon, a clever criminal, who is insidious enough to corrupt the faithful Baskerville servants into the service of evil. Even more unsettling is the terrible Hound of the Baskervilles. When the good Sir Charles Baskerville is murdered, an ancient curse on the family is revealed that now threatens Sir Henry, the new heir. For generations, the Baskerville family has been victimized by a giant, spectral hound that prowls the moors. The hound now seems to be loose again; it has claimed Sir Charles and appears ready to strike again. Is this a supernatural creature or merely part of someone’s devious plot to supplant the rightful heirs of Baskerville Hall? Sherlock Holmes is called upon to solve the mystery, and the intricate story builds to an extraordinary climax when the hound attacks: “Fire burst from its open mouth, its eye glowed with a smoldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame.” A fiend from hell seems loosed upon Sir Henry.
Critical Appreciation of the Story
Holmes represents several things from his role as the great detective. He is the ever practical man, not even caring about the rotation of the Earth, since it does not affect the case. Amidst...
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