A Study in Scarlet was the first Sherlock Holmes book that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published. So it is this book that we have to thank for all of its sequels, spin-offs, movies, TV shows. It has also inspired countless other authors. A Study in Scarlet was the beginning.
So I’m certainly amazed with how mediocre it was.
Let me stop and back up. I’ve decided this year to read all of the original Sherlock books and stories by Doyle. I have read some before, most notably those that are the classics: Sign of the Four, “Hound of Baskervilles,” so on and so forth, so I know how good and fascinating these stories are. However, I had never read the first book. So I decided to read everything in order of publication—Well, listen, actually. I downloaded this book from Librivox.org. It is narrated by Bob Neufeld.
A Study in Scarlet is good, but you can tell it’s a first novel. Sherlock has yet to develop as the sardonic character that we love. He seems merely a slightly strange, condescending, and vain man. Of course, he IS these things all the way through, but he grows to have other qualities as the stories go on, and find more depth.
The case in this particular story involves a body that has been found at an abandoned manner. There are no wounds on the body; however, the word “RACHE” is written on the wall in blood. They also find a gold wedding ring. Using his prime powers of observation and deduction, Sherlock sets off to unravel the mystery and bring the killer to justice.
Part one of the novel is Sherlock finding the killer. Part two takes the reader all the way to Utah and the foundation of the Mormon culture there. There is definitely some commentary on that particular religion and the life style choices they lived by during the late 1800s.
Now that this one is out of the way, on to more Holmes, Watson, and better stories!