Study Guide

James Desmond in The Hound of the Baskervilles

By Arthur Conan Doyle

James Desmond

At the start of the novel, Doctor Mortimer doesn't know of Stapleton's connection to the Baskerville family. He believes that the next heir to the estate after Sir Henry would be this cousin of Sir Charles, James Desmond. Holmes wonders if Desmond could be a suspect, but no: he's an elderly clergyman of "venerable appearance and of saintly life" (5.27) who refuses to accept even the moderate amount of money that Sir Charles leaves to him in his will.