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

The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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What is the Baskervilles' curse?

Quick answer:

The Baskervilles' curse entails a hound that allegedly hunts and kills members of the Baskerville family. When the current resident dies, a young Baskerville from America inherits the estate, but his life is at risk. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson discover that a distant relative trained a hound to kill the young Baskerville to seize the family property. However, the relative ultimately falls victim to his own scheme, leaving the young Baskerville alive and the curse debunked.

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The curse of the Baskervilles is that the hound of the moor hunts down the members of the Baskerville family one by one. When the current resident of the Baskerville home is found dead, a young Baskerville who had been living in America returns to take over his property. However, his life appears to be in grave danger and Sherlock Holmes and John Watson proceed to investigate.

It turns out that there is a hound, but a hound that had been trained to hunt down the young Baskerville by a distant relative who had his eye on the immense and costly property of the family. He had taken on another name and used the hound (with a clever application of phosphorus to make the animal glow in the dark) and the stolen boot of the young Baskerville to train the hound to kill him so that he could usurp the property. But he fell into his own trap and fell victim to the hound himself. The young Baskerville remained alive and well. The secret behind the curse of the Baskervilles was out once and for all.

"Mr. Holmes, it was the footprints of a gigantic hound." This iconic phrase from the Doyle novel exists in the original story, as well as the motion pictures and shows.

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