"NOT SUCH A HOUND AS MORTAL EYES HAVE EVER SEEN"
CONAN DOYLE, Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles. London: George Newnes, 1902. Octavo, original pictorial black- and gilt-stamped red cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $15,000.
First edition, first issue, of the third Sherlock Holmes novel, widely regarded as the best of the series and "one of the most gripping stories in the English language," wth 16 illustrations by Sidney Paget. A beautiful copy.
Although Conan Doyle had killed off his most famous character by sending him over the Reichenbach Falls while grappling with Professor Moriarty in "The Final Problem" (December 1893), his readership demanded the sleuth's return. The author obliged with this, the third—and still considered by many the best—Sherlock Holmes novel, carefully positioned on the title page as "another adventure" of Holmes. "But," as Howard Haycraft notes, "the seed of doubt was planted"; and while the novel proved an immediate success, readers continued to press for more. Conan Doyle finally relented and engineered Holmes' "resurrection" in 1903. The Hound of the Baskervilles remains "one of the most gripping books in the language" (Crime & Mystery 100 Best 6). "The supernatural is handled with great effect and no letdown. The plot and subplots are thoroughly integrated and the false clues put in and removed with a master hand. The criminal is superb… and the secondary figures each contribute to the total effect of brilliancy and grandeur combined. One wishes one could be reading it for the first time" (Barzun & Taylor 1142). First issue, with "you" for "your" on page 13, line 3 and the illustration facing page 76 reversed (as it was originally in the Strand Magazine, October 1901). Without extremely scarce dust jacket. Green & Gibson A26. De Waal A87. Bookplate of noted collector E. Hubert Litchfield.
Interior fine, cloth exceptionally lovely, with none of the usual toning to spine, just a bit of bubbling, gilt bright. A beautiful copy.