Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thoughts: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Note: I’m more than a little tired, so I’m sorry if this is short and a teeny bit incoherent. :)

Last year, I read Neil Gaiman’s short story A Study in Emerald, a tribute to Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft, and I saw Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The two combined made me want to read A Study in Scarlet.

Two days ago, I finally started it, and I flew through the book pretty fast. In a previous post, I mentioned that my reading speed is slower when I’m reading classics. I was wrong. I said that before coming across A Study in Scarlet.

The book actually tells us how Watson and Holmes meet. Watson, who was injured during his stint as an army doctor in Afghanistan, doesn’t have enough money to continue lodging at a hotel, and, through a common friend, he meets Holmes who’s also looking for a roommate. The two take up a room in the now famous Baker Street.

I didn’t know all that stuff before, and most of my knowledge about Sherlock Holmes entered my brain through the film adaptation and various pop culture references. Reading Sherlock Holmes, the original one, opened my eyes to things about the famous detective that were absent in the films.

The first half of the book is told through Watson’s eyes, while the second half suddenly shifts and takes us to somewhere in the middle of a desert in Utah. The parts in Utah were action-filled, but were very offensive to Mormons. I tried to keep in mind, though, that Doyle’s portrayal of Mormons was how people viewed them at the time.

Overall, Sherlock Holmes was a fast, exciting read—a great introduction to the famous detective that shows us his extraordinary skills of deduction, not to mention his flaws.

Rating: 4/5

9 comments:

Red said...

I've read a few Holmes stories but never read how Holmes and Watson got started. I'm going to go look for this one

Trisha said...

I really have to get on top of my Holmes reading. A few months ago, I had every intention of reading the originals, but that project got pushed to the back burner. I loved the pastiche I read recently, and I do so love the idea of Holmes. Perhaps I'll start with this one!

Allie said...

I read through all of the Holmes stories and novels in order last year. I think I got through this one in March. I was so excited to get to know Watson and Holmes through Doyle's own words. I also love the impressions Watson made of Holmes from the beginning, and the list he makes in that first or second chapter.

I thought the second portion of the novel was off and I was confused why the story shifted perspectives that way, but Doyle does that in a couple of the other novels and in some of the stories, so i got used to that technique.

Are you going to read the rest of the stories and novels? They are all fantastic!

Brenna said...

I've never read any Arthur Conan Doyle but this sounds like it might be a good one to start with.

simplerpastimes said...

I just read this a couple weeks ago, and yes, it is a very fast read! I didn't much care for the second part, as I didn't find it as engaging as the scenes with Holmes and Watson. I'm planning on reading the rest of the Holmes novels/stories this year. They're a nice break between heavier classics!

lisa :) said...

I keep meaning to read Doyle but somehow his work never makes it to the top of my TBR list! I do love mysteries though and I've seen a lot of Holmes on film (the RDJ movie as well as many of the BBC adaptations). One of these days I really will sit down and read the source material!

Sam said...

I read The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes first and didn't love it, so now I'm thinking that maybe I should have started with this one.

Shelley said...

His flaws and his relationship with Watson are the most entertaining parts for me. If you're a Sherlock fan, you should try the latest BBC series "Sherlock." They've thrown the two of them into modern times, and it works quite well.

Zibilee said...

I have a whole collection of Conan-Doyle's Holmes stories and they have been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I would love to read them soon, and every time I come across a post like this one, my interest is piqued all over again.

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