A raw November night when the evil creeping fog of Dartmoor has given way to its mightier London cousin, the city-swallowing night fog -- the sort of night where a blazing fire in a Baker Street hearth with Holmes and Watson sitting close around it makes for the best of all possible worlds.
And Sherlock Holmes is in story-telling mode.
So we get to gather around the urban campfire while scoutmaster Holmes weaves us a tale of villainy and mysterious South Americans who seemingly disappear into the mists when their plots are foiled. The evil Rodger Baskerville and his sidekick Anthony eerily might be out there still, just waiting for us, having discovered our little known Baskerville bloodline.
And what of James Mortimer, who seems insistent on taking some member of the Baskerville family away from Baskerville Hall? We hear he was originally planning an exodus for Sir Charles, and now is doing the same for Sir Henry. Is his medical prescription for everything, "I shall go on a vacation around the world with you," or does he have some plan for the empty manor house that his cohorts will work when he's away . . . perhaps to dig some rare skull up from the basements of the house.
Whatever these unknown threads lead to, however, it is not Holmes's province to guess what any man might do in the future, or so he tells us. He does not have any problem with planning his own future, though, as this tale ends, not with the boredom and needle of The Sign of the Four, but with inviting Watson out for a date: dinner at Marcini's and a box seat for Les Huguenots. It is a splendid thing to have a friend who buys entire boxes for the grand opera and asks you to come along after telling a wonderful fireside tale.
And on that happy note, September and re-reading The Hound of the Baskervilles both draw to a close. I always forget just how good these stories are, and how rich in lovely detail, when I'm away from a particular one for a while. It's no wonder that The Hound gets so many adaptations by film-makers, and I sincerely hope that Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law get a chance to make an honest big-budget go of it one day . . . or perhaps some other modern actors who can draw a crowd to a big-screen theater. I would dearly love to see some decent modern adaptation of this tale projected digitally on a large screen, with a Hound that is truly state-of-the-art.
And if they can pull that off, did I mention I once penned a script for a modern horror sequel to The Hound, wherein the curse turned out to be real, and a college-aged descendent of Hugo unleashes it upon a college campus? There's a great chase scene where the Hound from Hell chases fleeing co-eds down a highway a night, tearing pieces off their car with his great flaming jaws. Can't remember if I finished it or not, but, hey, Hollywood! Steal the idea! I'd just be happy to see such a thing.
Anyway, thanks ACD, and thanks to you plucky souls who made it through The Hound of the Baskervilles with me this month. It's been fun!