This post is part of the 2016 April A to Z Challenge.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet is one of those classics that anyone interested in detective stories should read.
It introduces the world to consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend and colleague, Dr John Watson, who reside at 221b Baker Street. This novel is not only the very first Sherlock Holmes story written, it is also the story that defines what becomes one of the most legendary friendships and partnerships in literature.
The novel is narrated by John Watson, and laid out as Watson’s factual reminiscence rather than a fictional account. The personal style of having Watson lead through the story gives a glimpse into how the people Holmes associates with most see him.
While the story starts with Watson’s experiences of the war in Afghanistan and then later Holmes and Watson meeting and renting rooms together, it soon evolves into their first case as a crime fighting duo. Some of the methods Holmes and Scotland Yard apply may seem so common place or even outdated now, but at the time the story was first published in 1887, these methods, like using magnifying glasses and measuring crime scenes, were at the cutting edge of forensic investigation. And yet, the readers are left just as baffled at Holmes’ deductions as Watson.
It may seem weird at first that quite a substantial part of the story about this quintessential British detective duo is set among the Mormons in Salt Lake Valley, but it all relates to the case of a murdered man in Brixton. By seeing the entire case through Watson’s eyes, readers immediately get drawn in and immersed in the story with an insight into the dynamic of the friendship between Holmes and Watson and all their acquaintances.
It’s a great read and even after nearly 130 years, the baffling case and the genius of Sherlock Holmes remain as legendary as ever. As does the friendship with Watson, which began in and because of A Study in Scarlet.
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Title: A Study in Scarlet
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Release Date: October 1, 2001 (originally published in 1887)