A Study in Scarlet

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
List(s):"Carp 500"
"Racine Library List"
Category: "Fiction - Mystery"
Year of Publication:1888
Date Read:01/19/1989
Notes:Facing a deserted house, a twisted corpse with no wounds, a mysterious phrase drawn in blood on the wall and the buffoons of Scotland Yard, Holmes measures, observes, picks up a pinch of this and a pinch of that and generally baffles his faithful Watson. A Study in Scarlet is the first story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's best-known detective, and the first narrative by the unassuming Dr. Watson.
My Rating: 8

Reviews for A Study in Scarlet

Review - A Study in Scarlet

It opens with Watson’s introduction to Holmes. After they agree to share an apartment, Holmes invited Watson along on a case. A dead man is found in an empty house with no sign of a wound although there is blood all over the place. A woman’s ring in found nearby. Holmes investigates and makes fun of the efforts of Scotland Yard. Then a second man, the servant of the first, is murdered in his bed. Holmes invites a cab driver to his flat and arrests him as the murderer.

A strange interlude tells the story of events in Utah some years before. And old man, John Ferrier, and a young girl named Lucy are discovered in the desert by a group of Mormans traveling to Utah. They become part of the community and thrive until the woman is of marriage age. Lucy falls in love with a miner named Jefferson Hope, but is told she has to marry a Morman, either Strangerson or Drebber. Hope helps the two escape, but after a chase, the Mormans catch up and kill Ferrier and take Lucy back, forcing her to marry Drebber. She dies of dispair a short time later. Hope, who was out hunting at the time, determines to chase down the two men and kill them. It takes almost 20 years, but he finally finds them in London. He presents Drebber with two pills, one of them poison, and forces him to chose. Drebber choose the poison. The blood was Hope’s suffering from heart disease that causes a bloody nose. Hope then tracks down Strangerson and kills him. After his arrest, Hope dies of a heart attack in prison.

Review - A Study in Scarlet

I just reread this for the first time in probably 15 years. I did so in The new Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels, edited by Leslie S. Klinger. He pretends that Holmes and Watson were real people and the cases were real cases, which was actually fun once I got into the spirit of things. I also found out about language, customs and geography. So while the annotations interrupted the story, they also added another level. I wouldn't suggest this edition for a first read, but it's great if you're a fan.

The story wasn't one of Doyle's best, although I rather enjoyed the anti-Morman bits. Klinger makes a point of saying that the Mormans weren't as bad as Doyle portrays them, but based on what I read in Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, I think they were.
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