Lady Audley’s Secret and The Hound of the Baskervilles are both classic mystery tales that captivate readers by setting up central questions and problems for them to solve. They share the same themes of death, murder, missing persons, and crime.
A huge difference between the two novels is the involvement of the supernatural in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Lady Audley’s Secret focuses more on the complexity of humans, what they are capable of, and what they could be hiding. When trying to figure out what happened to George or what exactly Lady Audley’s secret was, we turned to and looked at the characters themselves as suspects and to break them down to see if they really are who they say they are. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, there is also the element of human deception however the book also introduces the idea of the evil hound and the supernatural. When Watson asks Holmes about the his belief in the possible supernatural explanation of Sir Charles’s death he says “The devil’s agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not? … Of course, if Dr Mortimer’s surmise should be correct, and we are dealing with forces outside the ordinary laws of Nature, there is an end of our investigation” (29). The introduction of the demonic hound gives a whole new level to the mystery and calls into question the veracity of everything that happens in the story and whether or not we can believe it to be real.
The utilization of the concept of the supernatural is what separates Lady Audley’s Secret and The Hound of the Baskervilles into two different genres. The idea of the supernatural vs real is a main trope in Gothic literature whereas family and domestic issues are a part of sensation literature.