Hound of the Baskervilles is in the mystery genre. It can be classified as a detective story as well. Numerous elements of the Gothic fiction genre can also be found within the chapters of the novel set in Devonshire. The Gothic characteristics of the novel have a story-within-the-story aspect to them, and the mystery/detective set-up ultimately debunks many of the myths surrounding many of the story’s Gothic elements.

Read a mini essay about the Gothic elements of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Point of View

The mystery is told entirely from the point of view of Dr. Watson, who is also the narrator. The author regularly switches from straight narrative, to diary, to letters home.

Read a mini-essay about Dr. Watson’s function as the narrator of the novel.

Protagonist & Antagonist

Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes are the protagonists, while Jack Stapleton serves as the antagonist.


Tense modulates from past (as in Watson's narration of London events) to recent past (as in Watson’s diary and letters).


At different times, the novel’s tone is earnest, reverent (of Holmes), uncertain, and ominous.


Holmes notes that the date 1884, engraved on Dr. Mortimer’s walking stick, is five years old, so the time is 1889. The novel starts and ends in London, in Holmes’s office at 221b Baker Street. Most of the rest of the novel takes place in Devonshire, at the imposing Baskerville Hall, the lonely moorlands, and the rundown Merripit House where Stapleton lives.

Read more about late-Victorian London as the setting for the Sherlock Holmes stories.


The deaths of some wild horses prefigure Stapleton’s own death by drowning in the Grimpen mire. There is a sense in which all the clues serve as foreshadowing for later discoveries.


The hound serves as a symbol of Stapleton’s artifice and deception. The moor can be viewed as a symbol of all that is murky and mysterious in the novel.


Holmes’s secret plan comes to fruition when a guileless Sir Henry heads home across the moor, only to be attacked by the hound. Hindered by a thick fog and sheer fright, Holmes and Watson nonetheless shoot the beast and solve the mystery.

Falling Action

Holmes explains the intricacies of the case, and Sir Henry and Mortimer head off on vacation to heal Henry’s nerves.