Books

A Study in Scarlet

Not too long ago, I was able to acquire the complete Sherlock Holmes canon by Arthur Conan Doyle in audiobook form as read by John Telfer. I highly doubt I’ll listen to all of it, but I do plan on going through chronologically to the fourth and final Holmes novel Valley of Fear. They should make for some decent listening while I knit. I even finished one project while listening to this.

A Study in Scarlet is the first book that features the literary icon Sherlock Holmes and his companion Doctor Watson. There is considerable introduction to both characters before the murder and mystery of the novel is introduced. I think Watson described Holmes best when he says, “This fellow may be very clever, but he is very conceited.” Which is why Watson is the perfect narrator and foil to Holmes. While the latter is probably a genius, he is also very tactless, peculiar, and eccentric in personality. To be honest, I did not care for Holmes all that much in this novel. We see his abilities as a detective, but his personality is still to be fleshed out by the end of this first novel. He is just an arrogant brain for most of this novel. The book itself is split in two with one half being narrated by Watson and the second by a third person omniscient narrator. The latter half is a story set in pioneer America and reads almost like a sensationalistic historical novel at times. It offered an interesting switch to the style of the first half with different settings, narratives and tones. I think this switch is what made me appreciate the novel the most albeit however unrealistic or melodramatic it is. It is too early for me to say that I like these stories. I certainly think Conan Doyle is an interesting mystery writer, but this is my first novel of his, and I have only been exposed (and loved) Agatha Christie before. Actually it made me want to read or listen to more Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot; I quite like the tv and film adaptations those mystery solvers. I digress, but I will proceed to more Holmes stories and sees if I like them even more.

2 Comments

  • Myrthe

    I reread all the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories last year (not all at once, just picking them up when I was in the mood). I actually like the short stories much better than the novels.I didn’t really care that much for A Study in Scarlet.

  • bekkah

    I’ve only read A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four…I much preferred Sign of the Four. I was suprised though by Holmes’ dark moods and his…uhm…recreational drug use…I had no idea!!

    BTW – Found you on the Classics Challenge page! I read Persuasion this month…which I very much enjoyed 🙂

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