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The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Student Question

Why does the hound attack the Baskervilles?

Quick answer:

The hound has been attacking the Baskervilles because Stapleton has been setting it on them. Stapleton is a descendant of the Baskervilles and he's been using the hound to kill all his rivals for the family inheritance.

Expert Answers

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Dr. James Mortimer is stone-cold certain that the Baskerville family has been cursed for generations. According to local legend, the Baskervilles have been cursed for several centuries, ever since the English Civil War in the mid-seventeenth century.

Apparently, one Hugo Baskerville was set upon and killed by a vicious hound on the moors as punishment for causing the death of a young woman. Ever since then, so the story goes, this mysterious hound has been responsible for the premature deaths of numerous members of the Baskerville family.

As one would expect of a man who always uses meticulous reasoning and logic to solve his cases, Sherlock Holmes finds the whole story patently ridiculous, nothing more than a piece of superstition.

After a lengthy process of investigation, he finds out what's really been happening to the Baskervilles. A man by the name of Stapleton, a descendant of the Baskervilles, has been using a vicious hound to attack and kill members of his family so that he can claim the inheritance.

All this time, he was cynically playing upon the old legend to divert attention from his murderous actions and get his hands on the Baskerville fortune. Thankfully, Holmes, ever the man of reason, was able to see through this diabolical ruse and get to the truth of the matter.

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