Classics,  Mystery,  Review

#BookReview : A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Arthur Conan Doyle

Publication Date : September 2011 (first published 1887)

Genre : Mystery Thriller

Pages : 162

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“A Study in Scarlet” is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities.

A Study in Scarlet was brilliant first book in Sherlock Holmes series that revolved around a doctor and consulting detective solving the murder case in London. It was about Mormonism, polygamy, crimes of church, and retribution.

I don’t know what more I can say that someone already hasn’t said already. I have seen some negative and many positive reviews on this book and legendary detective but for me it was brilliant. Writing was easy to follow, something I didn’t anticipate for a classic. It was vivid, descriptive and fast paced. Story was divided in two parts. Most of the story in both parts was narrated by Watson while half the second part was third person narrative.

It started with part I that introduced Watson and how he met Sherlock, started sharing house at 221 B Baker Street, got to know each other more, and how they started working on murder case that Sherlock named ‘A study in Scarlet’.

It was fun to read introduction. It was amazingly described and I knew from the beginning I’m going to like this legendary character. Sherlock was quirky, smart, clever, and extraordinary. I could see why people call him emotionless but I found him practical and I think he was compartmentalised person who could put things like emotion in different box and could focus on matter at hand. He was amazing in his work and I liked how his brain worked. He did have self-centred and vain offhanded manner but I admired him for his passion and knowledge and he wasn’t doing his work for fame or to show off his talent but because it gave him purpose in life, he kind of lived for it.

I enjoyed all the description on his method of deduction, details of his observation and how he could see all minute details and figure out even height and age of murderer. The way he proved Watson and other detectives wrong was amusing. It was amazing to read Watson’s first impression, what he thought about him in first few days of them sharing the house which was not all positive, and how that changed gradually. As Watson knew Sherlock more, he started respecting and admiring his companion and his work.

At the end of the first part Sherlock managed to catch the killer but I didn’t know how he figured out his name and knew he would catch him, and what was the motive. All that came in Part II with backstory of victims and murderer. At first, I was surprised with switch in setting from Victorian era to Utah and Mormon culture twenty years back and was confused how this relate to part I but as I read more and saw familiar name, it became interesting.

This part was tragic, sad and shocking. I liked the layer of Mormon culture, patriarchy, church’s crime and power that made people live in fear, restrictions, and in prison of their own land and house. After reading this backstory for the first time I felt sorry for murderer and was really glad he got his vengeance.

All twist and turns were cleverly written. I couldn’t guess what will happen next until it was revealed. End was great. It was fun to read where the legend started and I can’t wait to read more adventures of Sherlock and Watson’s account of them.

Overall, A Study in Scarlet was perfectly well written classic whodunit murder mystery, a great, unputdownable, and enjoyable introductory novella of the series.

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or Sherlock Holmes series? Which is your favourite classic mystery/thriller?


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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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