illustrated outline of a large, ferocious-looking dog with red eyes

The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Start Free Trial

Why does Sir Henry go to Baskerville Hall after he receives a letter that warns him to stay away in The Hound of the Baskervilles?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Sir Henry refuses to be scared away from his new home.

Sir Henry is the last descendant of Baskerville Hall (supposedly).  He inherits the estate when his uncle Sir Charles dies of very mysterious circumstances.  There is some thought that the curse of the Baskervilles, including the Hound of the Baskervilles, is at fault. 

Sir Henry hires Sherlock Holmes because he gets an odd note warning him away from Baskerville Hall.  The note is made of pasted printed words.  It says, “As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor.”  Only the last word was written by hand.  Sir Henry is also upset because he lost one of his boots. 

Holmes asks Sir Henry if he is going to go to Baskerville Hall, because there “seems to be danger.”  Henry asks where the danger is coming from, human or animal, and Holmes says that this has yet to be determined.  However, Henry is not willing to back off. 

“… There is no devil in hell, Mr. Holmes, and there is no man upon earth who can prevent me from going to the home of my own people, and you may take that to be my final answer.” (Ch. 4) 

Sir Henry has a very strong personality.  Watson notes that he has “the fiery temper of the Baskervilles.” Sir Henry tells Holmes that he needs time to process everything.  He tells Holmes and Watson to come back later so they can discuss it. 

Holmes is able to deduce quite a lot from the note and the boot.  He is a very astute detective and has extraordinary powers of observation and deduction.  He knows there is really no curse, but is interested in the case.  In a rather strange move, he sends Dr. Watson to Baskerville Hall and stays behind.  It later turns out that he goes to the moor too, secretly, to work on the case, while Watson has no idea he’s there.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team