Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (4/5)

The back says: In 1887, a young Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, thus creating an international icon in the quick-witted sleuth Sherlock Holmes. In this, the first Holmes mystery, the detective introduces himself to Dr. John H. Watson with the puzzling line "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive." And so begins Watson's, and the world's, fascination with this enigmatic character. Doyle presents two equally perplexing mysteries for Holmes to solve: one a murder that takes place in the shadowy outskirts of London, in a locked room where the haunting word Rache is written upon the wall, the other a kidnapping set in the American West. Quickly picking up the "scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life," Holmes does not fail at finding the truth - and making literary history.

I say: I remember loving Sherlock Holmes as a child, but yonks later I hardly remember anything about him apart from what little is prevalent in popular culture. Therefore it was a sheer delight to fall in love with him again.

Because fall in love I most definitely did.

I like Doyle’s writing; it’s very straightforward and with those typical British witticisms that I love. Somehow I’ve had this picture of Dr. Watson as somewhat silly, but that may have been my mind playing tricks on me – he was none of the sort, in fact, quite far from it. He came across as your typical Brit, and I liked him.

Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, is absolute perfection.

I loved everything about him; his self-assurance, his arrogance, the slightly belittling way he treated the other detectives – and even Dr. Watson. The novel was loaded with great quotes (as well as references to literature – which is always a huge plus with me).

I don’t usually (or actually, ever) read detective or mystery novels, so this was a stretch for me. To be honest, I didn’t even bother trying to figure out who the murderer was and why because this isn’t Murder, She Wrote where even I can figure it out within five minutes. So colour me confused when we got to the second part of the mystery that took us to the American West.


Doyle tied it together in an impressive and quite impossible way. Maybe people who are used to these types of stories wouldn’t have been as impressed, but as a novice I thoroughly enjoyed it. More than anything though, it was Doyle’s writing and the way he treated the relationship between Dr. Watson and Holmes. So I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books, if only to get to know more about Holmes.


  1. i knew there was a reason i put this on my to-read list! i subconsciously remember this review! :D

  2. Ha ha, yay! I really loved Sherlock, and may even watch the movie(s) with Jude and Robert now. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

  3. Always a pleasure to meet a Sherlockian!

    I would recommend 'The House of Silk' by Anthony Horowitz. Horowitz is a great writer and did a nice job capturing the essence of the Sherlock Holmes canon.

    Check out my review .


    1. A Sherlockian!? I've never heard that before, but I love it!

      I'll definately look up Horowitz, thanls for the tip.