The Hound of the Baskervilles is Christopher’s favorite book. This Sherlock Holmes novel is about an old British family, the Baskervilles, who are haunted by a giant, murderous dog. A friend of the family thinks that the heir might be in danger from the dog, so Holmes sends his assistant, Watson, to investigate, while pretending to stay in London but actually following in secret. Holmes discovers that a recently deceased Baskerville was killed by a distant relative seeking an inheritance, who covered a huge dog in phosphorus to make it appear to be the dog of the legend.
Christopher is basing his actions and his book largely on this Sherlock Holmes novel—and indeed, both deal with a dog and a murder. The Baskerville hound’s position as a symbol of evil foreshadows that the book’s initial image of Wellington impaled with a pitchfork might harbor darker secrets than previously realized. Furthermore, Christopher’s secret investigations echo those of Sherlock Holmes, his idol.
There are parts of the story that Christopher doesn’t like. There’s an old scroll written in archaic language that he doesn’t understand, and sometimes characters are explained in subtle ways that he can’t relate to.
Even Christopher’s favorite book sometimes betrays him in its way of describing the world. But this is something he can change in his own story, making other people see his way instead.
Christopher likes the book because it’s a detective story, including clues and red herrings, which appear to be clues but only lead the detective or the reader off on the wrong track. Christopher feels like he’s similar to Sherlock Holmes, because they’re both very observant and can concentrate their minds on one thing to the exclusion of the rest of the world around them. In writing his own book, Christopher is trying to fit together apparently random happenings the way Holmes does, without any reference to the supernatural, which Christopher thinks is ridiculous.
Christopher doesn’t seem to know anyone in real life with whom he shares a perspective on the world, and Sherlock Holmes gets as close to this as possible. Modeling his own actions on Holmes helps Christopher take advantage of his powers of logic and observation, which sometimes get in his way otherwise. The clues and red herrings make the mystery like a puzzle, which he can use logic to solve. The reader might wonder which details so far in Christopher’s book have been clues, and which red herrings.