"A Study in Scarlet" is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In "A Study in Scarlet" Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities.
I'm going to be honest with you all here. About a year ago I went through a BBC's Sherlock obsession. I wanted to be an expert on all things Sherlock Holmes, so I went out and bought the first volume in the Bantam Classic Sherlock Holmes collection, assuming I'd finish all of the short stories and novels within a week or so. Oh, how wrong I was.
I tried to work through A Study in Scarlet for ages, but it just was never something I could make myself read. The volume collected dust on my bookshelf until about two days ago, when I finally decided to tackle the task of reading it. This time I was determined.
I'm so glad I made myself read past the first twenty or so pages. I fell in love with the smart-ass attitude of Sherlock Holmes immediately. Sure, Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine, snarky Sherlock, but nothing compared to the dialogue written in this novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
It was a bit slow at parts, but maybe that's because I already knew who committed the crime (thanks, BBC). I think what I liked most about A Study in Scarlet was the small break in the middle of the novel. It's broken up into two parts, the first part being a recollection of Dr. John Watson meeting and living with Sherlock Holmes in the midst of a terrible crime. The second, which was my favorite, started out with a third-person narrative explaining the back story of the killer, who was rescued by Mormon pilgrims in America. I'm in love with American history, so this was a really nice touch for me. Everything flowed together seamlessly, building up to an amazing ending in Watson's point-of-view.
I was not expecting to like A Study in Scarlet as well as I did at all. I definitely would recommend it to any classic or Holmes fan... or any human being period. It's instantly become one of my favorites of all time. 5/5 stars. Blew me away.