It is this mystery that Sherlock Holmes called one of the most difficult and dangerous in all his career. A terrible family curse has apparently been activated by Sir Charles Baskerville, a widower of somewhat advanced age, and generous, although somewhat reclusive, habits, who had a bad heart condition. He had been out walking down a gloomy yew-lined path, waiting by a gate overlooking the moor, when suddenoly he ran away and then died toward the end of the lane, with a face contorted in the greatest agony of fear imaginable. While the doctor''s opinion of heart failure was accepted, the doctor was uneasy. There is an old family legend about a huge black hellhound which threatens to bring an untimely end to the lives of any of the Baskervilles foolish enough to venture out on the moor at night, when the evil powers hold sway on Dartmoor. Several centuries earlier, a very evil young man, Hugo Baskerville, fell in lust with a young woman, a yeoman''s daughter. She avoided him, but he and his friends kidnapped her one Michaelmas. She escaped from the room where she was locked up. He leaped up on the table and swore to give his body and soul to the Powers of Evil that very night if he could only overtake the wench.
His friend suggested he set the hounds after her, and he did. The story went that he pursued the hounds pursuing the girl, but he was pursued in turn by a great black demon hound. Four of his friends found the girl dead of exhaustion; he was killed by the great black hound, who tore out his throat. This story was used as a nursery tale in the family, but was it being used as a way for some unscrupulous person to gain an ill-gotten inheritance? But who? Was it truly a supernatural manifestation? Can the young Henry Baskerville safely go north and claim the estate? And who stole his boot? And why? Sherlock Holmes takes on one of the most difficult and dangerous adversaries he has ever done in any case at all. This is certainly one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle''s greatest writings ever.