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The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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What deductions can be made from the note sent to Sir Henry Baskerville in chapter 4?

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In chapter 4, Dr. Watson brings a threatening not to Holmes.  The note warns Basekerville of danger.  Holmes is able to deduce several items from the note.

THE NOTE CAME FROM A NEWSPAPER- Holmes is also able to tell which newspaper and the exact articles the words were cut from by the words and the font.

The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge to the special expert in crime... But a Times leader is entirely distinctive, and these words could have been taken from nothing else. As it was done yesterday the strong probability was that we should find the words in yesterday's issue.” (enotes pdf p. 25)

THE PERSON WAS EDUCATED- Holmes deduces that although the writer was attempting to appear uneducated, the newspaper was a dead giveaway.

The address, you observe, is printed in rough characters. But the Times is a paper which is seldom found in any hands but those of the highly educated. We may take it, therefore, that the letter was  composed by an educated man who wished to pose as an uneducated one. (p. 25)

THE PERSON WAS IN A HURRY- Someone took great care with the words, but some were uneven.  This implies that the person is not careless in general, but was in a hurry.

Life, for example, is quite out of its proper place. That may point to carelessness or it may point to agitation and hurry upon the part of the cutter. On the whole I incline to the latter view, since the matter was evidently important, and it is unlikely that the composer of such a letter would be careless. (p. 25)

THE PERSON WAS IN A HOTEL- The pen ink is uneven, implying that the pen and ink were not the writer’s personal stash but belonged to a hotel.

Now, a private pen or ink-bottle is seldom allowed to be in such a state...But you know the hotel ink and the hotel pen, where it is rare to get anything else. (p. 26)

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