Title: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Published: 1901

Genre: Mystery

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote this story shortly after returning to his home Undershaw from South Africa, where he had worked as a volunteer physician at the Langman Field Hospital in Bloemfontein. He was assisted with the plot by a 30-year-old Daily Express journalist called Bertram Fletcher Robinson (1870-1907). His ideas came from the legend of Richard Cabell, who was the inspiration of the Baskerville legend. His tomb can be seen in the Devon town of Buckfastleigh. Squire Richard Cabell lived during the 17th century and was the local squire at Buckfastleigh. He had a passion for hunting and was what in those days was described as a 'monstrously evil man'. He gained this reputation for, amongst other things, immorality and having sold his soul to the Devil. There was also a rumour that he had murdered his wife. On the 5th of July 1677, he died and was laid to rest in 'the sepulchre,' but that was only the beginning of the story. The night of his interment saw a phantom pack of hounds come baying across the moor to howl at his tomb. From that night onwards, he could be found leading the phantom pack across the moor, usually on the anniversary of his death. If the pack were not out hunting, they could be found ranging around his grave howling and shrieking. In an attempt to lay the soul to rest, the villagers built a large building around the tomb, and to be doubly sure a huge slab was placed on top of the grave to stop the ghost of the squire escaping.

Conan Doyle's description of Baskerville Hall was inspired by a visit to Cromer Hall in Norfolk. Some elements of the story were inspired by a stay at the Royal Links Hotel in West Runton, where Conan Doyle first heard the story of Black Shuck, the ghost dog from the Cromer area, which is said to run between Overstrand in the east and East Runton in the west. It is authoritatively noted that Baskerville Hall as first seen by Watson closely resembles the view of Stonyhurst College from its driveway during its first century (founded 1794).