The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle
Around 150 pages
I adore anything Sherlock Holmes related, even when his name is only weakly invoked in a flimsy adaptation. I love that fiction is capable of transforming the world in any sense, let alone a subject as bad ass as forensic science. If you are looking for a cozy quarantine read, you can't do better than this.
Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the park near his manor, and Sherlock is asked to investigate. According to legend, the area is haunted by a demonic hound, and large pawprints were found near Sir Charle's corpse. Sherlock (and John of course) must uncover the truth before the next in line, Sir Henry Baskerville, suffers the same gruesome fate as well.
There are so many wonderful aspects of this story that I hardly know where to begin. I first read this in 7th grade as assigned reading (we also read "The Speckled Band,"; both are excellent stories obviously but what logic do public schools use in assembling their book lists?). Anyway, I loved it then and I loved it when I revisited it later with the context of his other stories. Sherlock's mind is fascinating, I love the relationship between John and our favorite detective, and the plots are thrilling and unexpected.
I also love the style in which he writes. It might be considered old-fashioned, even in 1902, to use the epistolary format, but I can't get enough of it. Highly recommended.
One of BBC's 100 most influential novels.
Serialized in The Strand Magazine in 1901.
UP NEXT: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.