Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thoughts: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
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.