Study Guide

The Hound of the Baskervilles What's Up With the Ending?

By Arthur Conan Doyle

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of The Hound of the Baskervilles isa little strange. The big finale when Holmes and Watson shoot the Hound, Stapleton disappears into the bog, and they find Beryl Stapleton tied up in a bedroom in Merripit House—that all happens in Chapter 14, the chapter before the final one of the novel.

The actual ending comes about a month after the finale, when Holmes and Watson are safely back in their London apartment sitting around the fire. It seems like things have been busy at Baker Street since their return from Dartmoor, and they're only just now catching up on the loose ends of the Baskerville case.

Does it seem strange that The Hound of the Baskervilles ends with a lengthy verbal explanation from Holmes about Stapleton's relationship with the Baskerville family? Wouldn't the gruesome, dramatic sight of Stapleton sinking into the Grimpen Mire seem to make the more awesome and sensible ending?

Maybe not. After all, the novel starts in Holmes and Watson's living room, as Watson inspects Doctor Mortimer's walking stick. Now that the case has been solved, Holmes and Watson are back where they started—back where they belong—in their own home in London. Order has been restored in Dartmoor, Stapleton has drowned in his bog, the mystery has been solved, and all's right with the world. That last scene brings us back a world where everything can be explained and understood. No ghosts. Whew.

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