Murder mystery tales are among the most popular book genre. Murder mysteries will usually consist of an unknown murder that killed a significant character. The detective has to decide among many suspects with clues he or she found in the course of the book. Authors typically write books of this genre because they give the reader a feeling of suspense and confusion as they read the story. It keeps them guessing and switching their opinions as new facts are read. In The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, protagonists, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson meet many people involved while trying to find the murderer of Sir Charles Baskerville, as said to be a mythical demon hound. Although there are many subjects in the case of the murder, Dr. Mortimer, The Barrymores, Jack Stapleton, and Roger Baskerville.
Dr. James Mortimer is a medical practitioner. He is described as tall, thin, and good-natured with rather eccentric habits. He is the first suspect Holmes and Watson meet and the person to tell them about the case. He is possibly the murderer because he was in charge of Sir Charles will when he died. He could of manipulated the will to his own use. By killing Sir Charles the will follows whatever he would of made it. He challenges Holmes in the intro of the story to solve the case. He also owns a dog as shown on the carriage when him, Henry and Watson were headed to Baskerville Hall and discovered by the bite marks of his cane. Its possible that Mortimer could of used his dog and disguised him as the hound to scare Charles at a distance. He is also a close acquaintance to the Baskervilles so he knows a lot about the family that he could of used fro his plans. His information on Sir Charles’ condition at the time is explained when Mortimer said, “Within the last few months it became increasingly plain to me that Sir Charles’s nervous system was strained to the breaking point” (Doyle, 43). With this information he could had literally “scared him to death” with any means that would relate to the hound’s curse.
Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore are servants to Sir Charles and Henry. Mr. Barrymore is described as tall, thin and has a black beard. They are very close to the Baskervilles since their family served them for generations. Their motives could be after their wealth or maybe on the inside they are sick of serving them. The hound of legends could have been the Barrymores who served Hugo Baskerville and they were tired of a life of servitude. This hound could of went on from generation to generation. Supposedly, Holmes and Watson first seen Mr. Barrymore when they were chasing a man in a van and the driver described him as a short man with a black beard. When Watson and Henry arrive at Baskerville Hall, Mr. Barrymore says he and his wife would leave the hall soon because of Charles’ death and its too painful of them. As for Mrs. Barrymore, Watson says during the first night, “And then suddenly, in the very dead of the night, there came a sound to my ears… It was the sob of a woman, the muffled, strangling gasp of one who is torn by an uncontrollable sorrow” (Doyle, 159). The crying indeed comes from Mrs. Barrymore, which could have been caused, as Watson predicts, a haunting memory. Its possible the letter they received could also have something to do with the case.
Jack Stapleton is a short man and a naturalist. He lives in the outskirts away from the other neighbors and the Baskerville Hall. He lives with his sister, Beryl and two servants. He became a suspect because Mortimer told Holmes and Watson that he knows the ins and outs of the moor. Watson first meets him when he came up to Watson and began a conversation. Oddly enough, he was interested in what Holmes and Watson thinks of the case and murder so far. After a few days with Stapleton, Watson believes something is not right about Stapleton and that he is masking his true colors to him. His motives could be that he is after the fortune of the family and only wants to be rich. When Beryl came to Stapleton and Watson while they finished their conversation, she said, “Go back! Go straight back to London, instantly… Go away from this place at all costs! Hush, my brother is coming! Not a word of what I have said” (Doyle, 183). Thinking Watson was Henry, se gave him a warning, but said not to tell Stapleton. She later explains that he doesn’t want Henry to leave because the people need someone, but Watson is well aware she is hiding something. If Stapleton was the killer, he must be a master of disguise. When the driver described the man as short and with a black beard, Stapleton could of easily put on a fake beard and mislead the duo. He would also have access to Henry’s hotel room and take his shoes and he could of disguised himself as the hound.
Roger Baskerville was the “black sheep” of the family when Hugo Baskerville was the owner. He is the son of Hugo and the brother of John. Mortimer states that he escaped to Latin America because he was an outcast and disgrace to the family. Interestingly enough, he never states if he died while there. Roger could of came back for revenge and would kill every Baskerville so he would be the only heir left. If he did survive and he came back, he is hiding somewhere from the people. What’s difficult is that anyone could be him because its unknown what he looks like. As Mortimer and Henry travel to Baskerville Hall, they were stopped and Perkins told them, “There’s a convict escaped form Princetown, sir. He’s been out for three days now, and the warders every road an every station, but they’re had no sight of him yet” (Doyle, 146). Roger could be the convict, Selden, and killed Charles before or after he was thrown in prison.
Mortimer, the Barrymores, Stapleton and Roger Baskerville are the most likely suspects to the killer. Out of the four Stapleton could be the killer because he is more mysterious than the others and the fact he knows the moor makes him the prime suspect. Overall, mystery books are interesting because as the reader continues the story, his or her opinion will keep changing and gives the reader the suspense of who the person is. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of many excellent mystery novels.
Courtney from Study Moose
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