Saturday, May 23, 2009
The rich landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the park of his manor, surrounded by the moorland of Dartmoor, in the county of Devon. He appears to have died from a heart attack, but the victim's best friend, Dr Mortimer, is convinced that the strike was due to a supernatural creature, which haunts the moor in the shape of an enormous hound with blazing eyes and jaws. Fearing for the safety of Baskerville's heir, his nephew Sir Henry, coming to London from Canada, Dr Mortimer appeals for help from Sherlock Holmes. The doctor also reveals that he found the footprints of a gigantic hound near Sir Charles' dead body but did not report it, certain it would be dismissed by the police as a figment of his imagination.
Dr Mortimer tells Holmes and Watson of the so-called Baskervilles' curse that has, he believes, been killing the family males for centuries, in revenge for the misdeeds of one Sir Hugo Baskerville, who lived at the time of Oliver Cromwell. According to the legend, Hugo Baskerville was an evil man with a sadistic streak. He liked to hunt for sport, in this case humans. It was also hinted he was a sexual sadist. One night a local barmaid who had been imprisoned in his bedchamber for his pleasure managed to escape while he was carousing with his friends. A furious Hugo rode after her with his friends soon following into the Moors. Some hours later they heard some bloodcurdling screams at which they found Hugo and the girl. She was dead from fright while a giant hound stood over Sir Hugo's body. It had ripped Hugo's neck apart.