Monday, January 16, 2017

Mystery Monday: The Hound of the Baskervilles

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

Today's mystery was requested by author (and my mom) Valerie Capps. It's a very literary one, so book lovers will love it. It introduces a little-known mystery involving this book:

The Hound of the Baskervilles was released in 1901, after killing off Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem. The story was published as a serial in a publication called The Strand Magazine.

Unfortunately, Holmes had a little help coming up with the story--a fact he conveniently left out when he sold the stories. However, he did acknowledge he had that help in the acknowledgments as a footnote on the first page of Chapter One.

Doyle also paid his friend, Fletcher Robinson, £500, which was a lot of money for the time. Robinson died in 1907 but before his death, he published a series of short stories that listed him as a "joint author with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" in the Baskerville stories. Doyle did not deny the claim.

Robinson's short story compilation. Photo credit: London: Harper & Brother, June 1905

Later, Doyle claimed credit for the plot and every word of the narrative. However, Robinson's coachman, whose name was Harry Baskerville, said he personally witnessed Robinson writing entire sections of what became the novel.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In 2000, an author took the allegations to an all new level. Rodger Garrick-Steele spent 11 years investigating the plagiarism charges and said Doyle plagiarized Robinson's work, had an affair with his wife, and conspired with her to poison her husband (who died at 36).

A court said Garrick-Steele was "totally unreliable" and the claims were dropped. To this day, though, Robinson is given no credit for his help in writing The Hound of the Baskervilles

Do you think £500 and an acknowledgment should have been enough?