No weird gasses messing with the mind, no acronymical secret project, no séances or other additions to the original text: this is Conan Doyle’s original story of The Hound of the Baskervilles faithfully retold in the audio medium.
It’s actually the sixth of Big Finish’s forays into the Sherlock Holmes canon – my views on the previous ones can be found here – but the first of two that have direct interest for fans of fantasy and science fiction. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a horror story, and, particularly in this version, which sees adaptor Richard Dinnick maintain Doyle’s removal of the Great Detective from the tale for a large part of the middle section, creating the horror is almost a higher priority than the puzzle itself.
Nicholas Briggs plays Holmes once more, with Richard Earl as his Watson, given much to do in this story, and proving once and for all that while he may not have the razor sharp intelligence of Holmes, he is far from a dullard – after all, Holmes knows there’s potentially a murderer on the loose, yet entrusts Sir Henry Baskerville to Watson’s charge.
If all you know of the story is the Hammer version, you’ll get a few surprises – there are characters in the original that don’t make it to most of the adaptations, and there are domestic horrors as well as the more visceral actions of the canine title star.
Verdict: As with their adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera from a few years ago, Big Finish respects the text – and provide an enjoyable thriller. 7/10