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Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by Irish in Review3 Comments

Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classic Series

Source: Free Download
Publication Date: 1887 (original)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 9781411431973
Format: ebook
Pages: 143
Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1878) // Salt Lake City, Utah (1847)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
First Line: In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army.

Sherlock Homes Series Order
Book 1: A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Book 2: The Sign of Four (1892)
Book 3: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
Book 4: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)
Short Story: The Field Bazaar (1896)
Short Story: The Adventure of the Tall Man (1900, unfinished)
Book 5: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
Book 6: The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)

Book  7: The Valley of Fear (1915)
Book 8: The Last Bow (1917)
Short Story: How Watson Learned the Trick (1924)
Book 9: The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)
This year I am trying to read more classics and the first one I tried was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet which I believe is the first time that Sherlock Holmes appeared in print. With my recent addiction to the BBC series Sherlock and the Robert Downy Jr movies I thought that now was a great time to visit the source material. 
The first part of this story sped by very quickly and I was really into the story and the characters although since I was familiar with the BBC show and its version, A Study in Pink, there weren’t many surprises for me. And then the story just abruptly ended. I thought it was over as there was this abrupt shift in time and location. However, something prompted me to google the story and I learned that the shift from London to Utah was all part of the story…it was just an epically long and epically boring flash back. 
I really didn’t like the whole section of the book that took place in Utah. It was just this really long info dump into the killers motivations and I really think that it could have been explained in a different way. One that didn’t take me out of the mystery and the events that began the novel. Once events moved back to Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes I was able to get back into the story enough to finish the story. I really enjoyed how those two characters interacted and in viewing the mystery through Watson’s eyes. Which is a different POV then what you get when watching tv or in the cinema.
Overall, I did enjoy reading Sherlock Holmes as he was first introduced to the world although I must admit that I do prefer his more modern adaptations. But I do like the sense of history from this original work and I plan on reading the other books that Doyle wrote involving this famous detective. Though, as with this story, I do expect that there won’t be a ton of surprises since the BBC show and the Hollywood movies do use a lot of the source material in order to tell their stories. That isn’t a complaint, just an observation. I like how the tv series and the movies take the original, remain faithful to it but then also add their own little twists and spins to make the stories their own.

3 Responses to “Review: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle”

  1. SuziQoregon

    I did the same thing when I read this. I thought I had a bad copy with another book inserted at the halfway point. Once I googled and found out abrupt shift in time and place was legitimate I kept going. I thought this was good but I liked the second book (The Sign of the Four) better.

    I’ve got The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes but haven’t read that one yet.

  2. Tasha B.

    Wait, the story goes to UTAH? As in, the United States? That’s bizarre.

    I’ve only read a few Sherlock Holmes stories because he annoys me with his know-it-all-ness (although I LOVE Holmes adaptations). But I did really enjoy A Scandal In Bohemia, which is the story featuring Irene Adler, and I highly recommend it.

    Maybe you’d also be interested in Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin novellas? Dupin was the basis for Conan Doyle’s Sherlock and there are a lot of similarities.