A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

After watching every episode of BBC’s Sherlock, both of RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes movies, and the first season of Elementary (please, Netflix, get season 2 soon!!), I decided it was time to try out the original.

A Study in Scarlet is the first of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels about the renowned and beloved detective, Sherlock Holmes. Here, we hear the tale of how Dr. John Watson, back in London after serving in Afghanistan, is seeking out lodgings and finds an old friend, Stamford, who connects him with a man named Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes, having found lodgings beyond his means, is looking for someone to share the cost. It is in this manner that the two, now known as two of the most famous characters from all of literature, first meet.

I feel no need to really review A Study in Scarlet, for Doyle’s work was famous and prized long before I was born and will continue to be so long after I am dead. However, I would like to say a few words about the book that surprised me.

First, as a fan of modern interpretations of Doyle’s work, it was fun—yes, fun—to meet the characters I already loved so dearly in their natural and original realm. I speak not only of Holmes and Watson, but of Gregson and Lestrade. The manner of Holmes’ detective work was also familiar, but even more ingenious than imagined after watching the modern television counterparts. Reading the book also helped me to appreciate the genius of the television writers—especially Moffat, who (given the fact that most long-time Whovians hate him), actually surprises me in his skill of interpreting this well-loved classic.

Second, I have to say I was surprised to find in the second book that Doyle takes the reader to America to discover, without any mention of Sherlock and Watson, the history of the events taking place in London. I was even more surprised to find that this history includes Brigham Young as a villain. How utterly unlooked for! But, in my opinion, how great in imagination and cultural understanding. Doyle is a genius. He’s not the grandfather of so many modern retellings for nothing!

I give this novel a solid 4 and I cannot wait to return to Sherlock in his next adventure.