The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Steven Canny & John Nicholson
by arrangement with Nick Hern Books
The Hound of the Baskervilles opens with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson speculating the identity of the owner of a cane that has been left in their office by an unknown visitor. Before any conclusions can be made, James Mortimer enters the office. Wowing Watson with his fabulous powers of observation, Holmes identifies Mortimer to be the owner of the cane.
Hoping to entreat Holmes to take the case, Mortimer recounts the myth of the lecherous Hugo Baskerville. Hugo captured and imprisoned a young maiden at his estate, but she managed to escape. Determined to get her, he headed into the moor only to seemingly fall victim to a marauding demon dog. Ever since, Mortimer reports, the Baskerville line has been plagued by a mysterious and supernatural black hound. The recent death of Sir Charles Baskerville has rekindled suspicions and fears. The next of kin, Sir Henry Baskerville, has arrived in London to take up his post at Baskerville Hall. Mortimer requests advice as to properly instruct Sir Henry Baskerville of what to do to keep from falling victim to the devious hound.
Agreeing to take the case, Holmes and Watson head to London and find Sir Henry Baskerville just as he is headed to Baskerville Hall. In order to best protect Sir Henry, Holmes and Watson invite themselves to join him. Right before they leave for the Hall, Holmes announces that he must remain in London on other business and Watson will accompany Sir Henry on his own. Sherlock hands Watson a notebook and instructs him to take down facts in the “fullest possible manner”.
Watson and Sir Henry arrive at Baskerville Hall. They are immediately stopped by Cecile who warns them to turn around and not cross the moor, for Sir Henry’s life is in danger. She rushes off before her brother Stapleton can overhear her warning. Unfortunately, Watson and Sir Henry are unable to collect any more information.
A series of mysteries arrive in rapid succession: The butler at Baskerville Hall, Barrymore, is caught skulking around the mansion at night; Mrs. Barrymore is signaling to someone in the dark; Sir Henry’s body appears to have been ripped up by the hound on the moor. Later, it is discovered that he is still alive and that Cecile has been sending Sir Henry incredibly mixed signals.
In a dramatic final scene, Holmes and Watson have deduced that Stapleton is in control of the hound. They then use Sir Henry as bait to catch Stapleton red-handed. After a late supper at the Stapletons’, Sir Henry heads home across the moor only to hear the howl of the hound and to be lost in fog. In a slow-motion sequence, Sir Henry is saved and Stapleton is brought to justice. Stapleton is revealed to be a distant relative of the Baskervilles and would have received the inheritance with the death of Sir Henry. With Stapleton finally out of the way, Cecile and Sir Henry confess their love for one another.
Holmes and Watson return to London and officially close the case. Yet as the lights come down, a howl is heard in the distance.